Russia: New Rules on Remote Work Have Taken Effect

By Igor Makarov, Elena Kukushkina and Evgeny Reyzman © Baker McKenzie January 4, 2021
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The Kremlin with Moscow's downtown in the background

​On Jan. 1, new rules on remote work in Russia took effect. Introduced as amendments to the Russian Labor Code, the new rules define various categories of remote work, and establish a number of new rights and responsibilities for both employers and employees regarding remote work.

Categories of Remote Work

Under the new rules, the following categories of remote work may be indicated in employment agreements:

  • Permanent remote work.
  • Continuous temporary remote work (no more than six months).
  • Periodic temporary remote work (alternation of remote work with office work).

Transferring an Employee to Temporary Remote Work at the Employer's Initiative

The employer has the right, at its own initiative, to transfer employees to temporary remote work:

  • If there is a threat to life or normal living conditions of the entire population or part of it (for example, during an epidemic).
  • If state or local authorities have taken the relevant decision.

To transfer employees to temporary remote work, it is sufficient for the employer to issue an internal company policy that contains, in particular, a list of employees temporarily transferred to remote work and the period for which they are transferred.

The employer does not have to obtain the employee's consent for such transfer or to conclude addenda to their employment agreement.

If it is impossible to temporarily transfer an employee to remote work (for example, due to the specifics of their work), the period that the employee does not work shall be payable as downtime for reasons beyond the control of the parties, at a rate of at least two-thirds of the employee's normal salary.

Interaction Between the Employer and Remote Employees

The employer must use an enhanced qualified electronic signature, and the employee must use an enhanced qualified or unqualified electronic signature, when concluding, amending or terminating the following documents in electronic form:

  • Employment agreements.
  • Addenda to the employment agreement.
  • Agreements on material liability.
  • Apprenticeship agreements.

In all other cases, the parties can exchange electronic documents using other types of electronic signatures and in any form that allows verification of the receipt of documents electronically.

Work Hours and Rest Hours

Collective agreements, internal company policies, and employment agreements and addenda thereto may establish the following features of working remotely:

  • Work hours.
  • Conditions and procedures for summoning a temporary remote employee to the office.
  • Procedures for granting leave to permanent remote employees (temporary remote employees will be granted leave according to general rules).

The time of interaction between a remote employee and an employer is included in the employee's work hours.

Providing a Remote Employee with Necessary Equipment and Tools

The employer must provide remote employees with the necessary equipment and other tools required to perform their work duties.

With the consent of the employer, remote employees may use their personal or rented equipment and other tools. Employers must compensate their employees for the use of such equipment and reimburse the costs incurred.

Additional Grounds for the Dismissal of Remote Employees

In addition to the general grounds for the termination of employment relations provided for by the Russian Labor Code, an employment agreement with a remote employee may be terminated if:

  • A remote employee does not get in touch with the employer for more than two workdays in a row without a valid reason. (The employer may set a longer period.)
  • A permanent remote employee has moved to another area and therefore cannot work under the same conditions.

Under the new rules, employers no longer have the right to establish other additional grounds in the employment agreement for dismissing remote employees.

Igor Makarov, Elena Kukushkina and Evgeny Reyzman are attorneys with Baker McKenzie in Moscow. © 2021 Baker McKenzie. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.

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