Labor Payment in Kolkhozes

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Labor Payment in Kolkhozes


a socialist form of distribution according to one’s work, the specific features of which are determined by kolkhoz cooperative ownership of the means of production.

From the time kolkhozes were first organized, the workday (trudoden’) was the standard unit for measuring the social labor of kolkhoz members and for assigning the proper share of income to each member. At first, the bulk of income distributed on the basis of workday units was paid to kolkhoz members at the end of the work year. As their economic positions grew stronger, the kolkhozes began, in 1956, paying monthly cash advances against the annual payment for labor, as well as payments in kind in seasonal agricultural goods. This increased the personal material incentive for kolkhoz members and brought kolkhoz pay closer to that of state enterprises. It also laid the groundwork for the introduction, in 1966, of guaranteed labor payment for kolkhoz members at all farms. These guaranteed wages were set at a level corresponding to the wage scales for the equivalent categories of sovkhoz workers.

Recommendations for the organization of labor payments in kolkhozes are included in the resolution On Giving Kolkhoz Members a Greater Material Stake in the Development of Social Production, issued by the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers on May 16, 1966. Each Union republic works out its own recommendations for remuneration in kolkhozes and, after consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Committee on Questions of Labor and Wages under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, these recommendations are approved by the Council of Ministers of each republic. In accordance with these recommendations, each kolkhoz works out a Statute on Remuneration, which is approved at a general assembly of kolkhoz members or authorized representatives.

The current system of payment for labor involves a combination of base pay and additional pay. Depending on the level of development, the forms of labor organization, and other conditions of production, the kolkhozes apply different systems of remuneration. These systems may be based on piecework, time-rate, or contract (by the job) payments or on one of these in conjunction with a system of bonuses. These combined-rate plans are known as the bonus piecework, bonus time-rate, and bonus contract systems. The kolkhoz administration decides what remuneration system to select.

The bonus contract system has become widespread. Under this system, at the beginning of the year or work period a tariff fund covering labor payments for the total volume of work or total projected output is established on the basis of flow charts, work rates, and tariff rates. In computing pay rates per unit output for contract work, this fund is increased by 10–25 percent; in economically strong kolkhozes, the increase sometimes amounts to more than 25 percent. Depending on the particular conditions of production and marketing, pay rates are set in terms of one quintal of output, 100 rubles of gross or marketed output, or 100 rubles of gross income. Until all the work is done or all the product is obtained, the labor of kolkhoz members is paid, according to set tariff rates, at either the piece rate established by the standard output quotas or at the time rate. At the end of the year or work period, the actual contract-labor earnings of workers in the production subdivisions is arrived at by multiplying the amount produced by the contract rate. From the total payment due, deductions are made of the sums paid out for work. The remainder constitutes the additional pay for overall economic results achieved.

Many kolkhozes use the bonus piecework system. Under this system, the final computation of pay rates is based on total output; the part of the remuneration fund that is allocated for payment above scale is divided by the average (computed from the statistics of the preceding year) or planned volume of output. Until the total product is obtained, kolkhoz members are paid according to the standard tariff rates and output quotas.

The bonus time-rate system is used in areas of agriculture that do not have an output in marketable goods; these include repair shops and various types of economic and transport work. Under this system, in addition to payment for time worked in accordance with the set tariff rates, kolkhoz members are paid a bonus for quality work done on schedule.

Kolkhozes also give additional pay for harvest work and for quality work performed with machines. Skilled workers, for example, machine operators, drivers, and livestock breeders, qualify for extra pay. Machine operators also get extra pay for length of service. In addition, bonuses are paid for the production of such crops as sugar beets, rice, millet, buckwheat, and sunflowers. Each Union republic’s recommendations on labor payment in kolkhozes stipulate the specific conditions that kolkhoz workers must fulfill in order to earn additional pay. In the RSFSR additional pay is given to kolkhoz members engaged in agricultural production if they overfulfill the plan or exceed a certain level of output. The additional pay in crop farming may be 20–30 percent of the value of the output received above the plan or the established level, and in livestock raising, 20 percent. In the RSFSR additional pay is also given for bringing about reductions in direct costs per unit output or for reductions in prime cost in comparison with cost levels specified in the plan. Bonus payments for cost cutting may be up to 25 percent of the value saved in crop farming and up to 40 percent in livestock raising. Many kolkhozes provide additional pay computed at 1 percent of annual earnings for each percent by which the plan or the previously achieved level is exceeded.

During the regular payment periods, kolkhoz chairmen and specialists are paid according to the salary scales for their respective positions. Salaries are based on indexes of the volume of goods produced or marketed, as approved in each republic, krai, or oblast. They are also correlated with salary scales for the corresponding personnel categories in the sovkhozes. Chairmen and specialists receive bonuses for fulfilling or overfulfilling the yearly plan or the previously attained output level for the marketing or production of goods by a farm or a branch of agriculture. Brigadiers, livestock farm managers, and brigade or livestock farm specialists are paid according to salary scales based on the volume of production of their subdivisions. They are also awarded extra pay for increasing output and reducing costs.

The main source of funds for labor payment in kolkhozes is the gross income of the kolkhoz. In the labor compensation fund a distinction is made between the part made up of cash receipts and the part consisting of a share of the gross yield of grain and other agricultural products. The ratio of the cash fund to payments in kind varies from kolkhoz to kolkhoz.

Out of net income, each kolkhoz establishes a material incentive fund for its members, which is partly used to reward winners under the system of socialist emulation. At the end of the year the greater part of this fund is distributed to the production subdivisions of the kolkhoz, according to the extent to which they meet their economic accountability (khozraschet) targets.

Among the factors promoting growth in the guaranteed labor payment in kolkhozes are increases in labor productivity and agricultural output, improvements in the system of output quotas and pay scales, reduction of nonproductive expenditures, and success in adhering to a system of strict economy.


Spravochnik po opiate truda ν kolkhozakh. Moscow, 1973.
Garantirovannaia oplata truda ν kolkhozakh. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.