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In brief

On 1 January 2021, new rules on remote work come into force.1 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.


Key takeaways

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 initiative of the employer

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.

Working hours and rest hours

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

  • working 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 working 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 working days 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.

Click here to access the Russian version: Российская Федерация: новые правила регулирования дистанционной работы


1 Federal Law of 08.12.2020 N 407-FZ “On Amendments to the Russian Labor Code regarding the regulation of remote work and temporary transfer of an employee to remote work at the initiative of the employer in exceptional cases.”

Author

Igor Makarov is a partner in Baker Mckenzie's Moscow office. Igor Makarov practices in the areas of corporate/M&A, as well as labor and migration law. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Mr. Makarov worked as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and headed St. Petersburg and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers CIS Law Offices BV. He also worked as an attorney at Hedman Law Offices, where he headed its St. Petersburg office until 1994. He joined Baker McKenzie as an associate in its St. Petersburg office. Mr. Makarov is currently a partner in the Firm’s Moscow office.

Author

Elena Kukushkina is a counsel and coordinator in Baker Mckenzie's Moscow office. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, she worked at another leading global law firm. Ms. Kukushkina has written articles as well as spoken in conferences and seminars about labor and immigration law. She is recommended by Chambers Europe and Legal 500 EMEA for her employment work. Sources describe Ms. Kukushkina as “fast, practical and business-oriented” as well as "result- driven."

Author

Evgeny Reyzman is a counsel in Baker Mckenzie's Moscow office. Evgeny Reyzman has extensive experience practicing in Russian labor law and employment litigation matters, as well as in the areas of commercial litigation, and Russian criminal law and procedure. Top ranked by Chambers Global 2009, clients describe him as a "genuine veteran of the employment scene who knows absolutely everything there is to know." PLC Which Lawyer? also recognized him as leading lawyer in its 2008 and 2009 editions. Chambers Europe 2007 regards him as one of the big three employment lawyers in Moscow. Mr. Reyzman joined Baker McKenzie in 1998 and became a partner in 2001. Prior to joining the Firm, he was a senior legal adviser for a major Russian bank and practiced as an advocate with the Inter-Republican Bar Association and the Moscow City Bar Association. In addition to his practice, Mr. Reyzman actively participates in the activities of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow as a member of its Human Resources Executive Committee.