Russian lawmakers are planning to loosen restrictions on child labor, allowing kids as young as 14 to go out and find jobs to ease the labor shortage caused in part by the mobilization of 300,000 reservists for the war in Ukraine.
Representatives from the ruling United Russia party, of which President Vladimir Putin is the de facto leader, on Wednesday proposed a series of changes to the state labor laws, paving the way for those 14 and older to join the workforce without having to obtain permission from social service agencies.
A child wishing to get a part-time job would only have to get the consent of their parent or legal guardian.
United Russia’s plan would also free employers from having to pay for a teen prospective employee’s medical examination, which is required under the current labor laws.
One of the authors of the proposed amendments, Artem Metelev, cited a study suggesting that 9 out of 10 Russian teenagers would like to begin working before turning 18.
United Russia also invoked “sanctions pressure from unfriendly nations” as a reason for the new approach to child labor in the country.
Nearly nine months into the war, Russia is said to be suffering from a severe labor shortage, which is expected to have an adverse effect on its already struggling economy.
Putin’s decision in September to call up 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine prompted hundreds of thousands of men to flee abroad.
On the battlefields of Ukraine, Russian forces have been suffering heavy casualties, with more than 78,000 troops killed as of Thursday, according to Kyiv officials.