On 9 December 2016, the IRZ supported the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy as it led a German-Russian workshop on "Employers’ responsibility for social protection in Russia: comparative legal aspects", which took place in Munich.

Eight speakers from Russia, all leading experts in labour and social law, were among those who gave lectures at the event. They represented four prestigious universities and one institute:

  • The Lomonossov University in Moscow,
  • The National Research University "Higher School of Economics" in Moscow,
  • The State University of St. Petersburg,
  • The State University of Perm and
  • The All-Russian Economic Research Institute for the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation.

The German side was represented by experts from the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, as well as by the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg and the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

The Russian experts provided an in-depth insight into the development of employers’ social responsibilities and the current position of employers in terms of social insurance. As well as the liability of employers to make contributions, questions were also raised about the employer’s responsibility in Russia (partially preserved from the USSR) to pay out social benefits and the employer’s duties in terms of safety at work. During lectures and discussions, the advantages and disadvantages of the payment of social benefits by the employer were analysed. Practical problems arising in the application of the law and the reality of law enforcement due to the involvement of employers were also openly discussed.

At the same time, the German lectures allowed the Russian participants to gain an insight into the control mechanisms used in Germany to involve the employer in social insurance and in the reintegration of  employees following sick leave. During their lectures and contributions to discussions, the German speakers said that these control mechanisms work better in practice if the employer’s interests are taken into account (e.g. exemption from liability for the employer thanks to effective statutory accident insurance). The Russian participants were also very interested, particularly in view of demographic changes, in hearing about the experiences of their German colleagues concerning the reintegration of employees following long periods of sick leave.

Common ground shared between both legal systems was established in the consequences of the non-fulfilment of employer liabilities when it comes to paying social insurance contributions. In both countries, this should basically not have a detrimental effect on the insured, whereby the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation even used the legal situation in Germany as a basis for its 2007 decision on the duty of the state to "subsequently rectify" any contributions not paid by the employer.

Lively discussions took place after each block of lectures, made up of two to three Russian lectures and one German lecture. The results of the workshop are published in a conference transcript.