Remote Work Law Review

Remote Work Law Review

On January 1, 2021, new rules on remote work came into force. The TEAM consulting group has prepared an overview of the changes: this article will help you learn the most important points of the new rules.

The main and the most important

Firstly, the law establishes the concept of remote work - this is the performance of a labor function outside the place of work, which is specified in the employment contract. At the same time, the employer is obliged to provide the employee with Internet access and mobile communications.

An employee can work remotely permanently, temporarily or periodically. The chosen mode of remote work must be provided for by the employer's local regulatory act, employment contract or an addendum to it.

Secondly, the performance of the labor function remotely cannot be the basis for a wage reduction.

Thirdly, the rules for granting vacations, organizing business trips and labor protection have remained unchanged for those who work remotely: it all should happen in compliance with the Labor Code.

How the parties enter into an employment contract (or an addendum to it)

Electronic document exchange can be used. If the parties sign a "paper" contract, employer can request from employee notarized copies of documents to conclude the contract.

Hard copies of an employment contract or an addendum to it are sent upon a written request of the employee no later than 3 working days. If an employee enters into an employment contract for the first time, then he/she must independently receive SNILS from the Pension Fund.

The procedure for interaction between the employee and the employer Until 2021, parties to an employment contract had to use enhanced qualified electronic signatures when exchanging any electronic documents. Now the rules have become a little more convenient.

Employment contracts, addendums to them, financial liability contracts, apprenticeship contracts are concluded and terminated using the electronic signatures of the parties. In this case, the employer is obliged to use only a qualified signature, and the employee can use an unqualified one.

Other documents, for example, statements and explanations, can be signed in any way. The chosen procedure for signing should be entrenched by a collective agreement, a local act or the employment contract itself.

The fact of receipt of the documents must be recorded: each of the parties is obliged to confirm the receipt of the document electronically. The term for confirmation is established by a collective agreement, local act, employment contract or addendum to it.

To get paid for sick leave or maternity leave, a remote worker may:

  • send the original documents to the employer or
  • provide details (the series and number) of the electronic certificate of incapacity for work

Work and rest hours

The mode of work and rest is established in the usual way: by a collective agreement, a local act, an employment contract, an addendum to it, or by the employee himself/herself. The documents can provide for the conditions and procedure of:

  • calling an employee performing remote work temporarily to a stationary workplace;
  • going to a stationary workplace on their own initiative.

In terms of vacations, as we have already mentioned, nothing changes. The provision of vacations for remote employees takes place in a usual order (see Chapter 19 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation).

Please note that the time of interaction of a remote employee with an employer is included in business hours.

Labour Organization

Employer provides a remote employee with the following necessities to perform their job function:

  • equipment;
  • software and hardware;
  • information security means and etc.

An employee may, with the consent or notice to the employer, use their equipment, while the employer:

  • pays compensation to the employee;
  • reimburses expenses related to the use of personal devices.

Additional grounds for terminating an employment contract with a remote employee

For remote employees, there are two additional grounds for terminating an employment contract:

  • If the employee does not interact with the employer for more than 2 working days in a row. Of course, we are talking about cooperation on work issues. In addition, these grounds can only be applied during the period of remote work. The parties can increase this period on their own, the main thing is not to forget to put it on paper.
  • If the employee has moved and cannot perform his/her duties on the same terms. These grounds only apply to permanent remote employees.

If the parties do not use electronic document management, then the employer must send a copy of the order (decree) to terminate the employment contract to the remote worker within 3 working days from the date of publication.

Temporary transfer to remote work at the initiative of the employer

Temporary transfer to remote work at the employer’s initiative is possible only in the following cases:

  • natural or man-made disasters;
  • production accident;
  • work accident;
  • fire, flood, earthquake, epidemic or epizootic;
  • any exceptional cases endangering the life or normal living conditions of the entire population or its part;
  • adoption of an appropriate decision by a public authority and (or) a local self-government body

On the temporary transfer to remote work on the initiative of the employer, a local act must be adopted, and the employee's consent and amendments to the employment contract are not required.

The employer must provide conditions for performing work remotely or reimburse the employee for the costs of organizing work. If necessary, the employer must train to work with the equipment and software.

If the specifics of work at a stationary workplace does not allow temporary transfer to remote work or the employer cannot provide the employee with the necessary equipment, then the time during which the employee does not perform his/her labor function is considered downtime for reasons beyond control of the employer and the employee.

Downtime is paid in the amount of at least 2/3 of the tariff rate (salary) in proportion to the downtime, unless a larger amount is provided for by collective agreements, contracts, local regulations (according to the rules of part 2 of article 157 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation)

At the end of the transfer period, the employer is obliged to provide the employee with the previous work provided for by the employment contract, and the employee is obliged to start performing it.

The specialists of the TEAM Consulting Group will be happy to provide you with extensive advice on these and other issues, as well as help with the preparation of all the necessary documents., 8 812 336 48 52