Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that employers should guarantee the jobs of men who volunteer to fight in Ukraine amid a widely reported troop shortage in Moscow’s ongoing invasion of its neighbor.
Putin pledged to order the government to enshrine the provision in law after receiving complaints that some employers had threatened to fire employees for taking extended vacations while fighting in Ukraine, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The promise was made to an Emergency Situations Ministry employee in Far East Russia who was apparently denied the right to return to work, Peskov said.
“Putin promised this employee to give instructions, to draw the attention of the government to the gap in Russian legislation,” Peskov said, adding that “legislation must be brought in line with the de facto situation.”
Russian lawmakers have previously raised the job retention issue, detailing cases of dismissals for absenteeism following service in Ukraine on a three-month contract with the Russian Armed Forces.
“I consider it right to draft amendments to the Labor Code to protect the rights of volunteers,” State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein wrote on messaging app Telegram last week.
Khinshtein claimed Russia’s Defense Ministry has backed his proposal and said he will submit legislation guaranteeing volunteers the right to retain their jobs as soon as parliament returns from its summer break.
The Kremlin has been unwilling to declare a wider mobilization despite Russia's stalled advance in Ukraine and reports of heavy casualties.
Instead, the Kremlin has been seeking to raise more men for the front by recruiting prisoners, reducing training requirements, offering large sign-up bonuses and greenlighting initiatives like regional battalions.