MOSCOW, January 1. /TASS/. The law governing remote work has come into effect in Russia on Friday, January 1. President Vladimir Putin signed the law in early December 2020.
The document was written by a group of lawmakers from both houses of the Russian parliament - the State Duma and the Federation Council.
The new law specifies the provisions of Chapter 49.1 of Russia’s Labor Code, which covers specifics of regulation of distance worker’s labor, such as working time and off-work time, types of remote employment (permanent, temporary and combined), grounds for their application, rules of interaction between an employer and an employee.
After the first reading that was held on June 21, the law underwent serious changes - the lawmakers introduced and approved 16 amendments.
The most important of them cover responsibilities of employers obliging them to provide their remote employees with necessary technical means, to pay their business trips and their leave on general terms. The law stipulates that the maximum term of temporary transfer to remote work should not exceed six months. The fact that employee was temporarily transferred to working from home should not be regarded as a ground to cut his or her salary, provided that the amount of work remains the same.
The law also lists grounds for dismissal of remote workers. Under the law, an employer has the right to fire a remote employee if he or she was absent for more than two working days without providing any admissible reason. This provision will replace such a general ground as "non-attendance," which is not applicable to remote workers.
According to the head of the Federation Council’s Committee on social policy Inna Svyatenko, an employer also has the right to fire a remote employee, if his or her working performance worsens after the change of working location and provided that the employee did not inform the employer about it.
The lawmakers also crossed out the provision which implies that workers have the right of immunity of their after-work time. Some media interpreted this change for remote workers as if they no longer have the right to stay off-line even after work. But Andrey Isayev, member of the United Russia party and one of the authors of the law, stressed that the new law reserves such a right and it is specified in several articles. According to him, the wording was changed due to juridical reasons. Russian Labor Minister Anton Kotyakov also noted that a remote worker was not obliged to stay in touch with his employer outside of his working hours. The minister also said that the salary of an employee who switched from working in office to a remote work should not be lowered on condition he or she still does same amount of work.