The principal Russian statute governing employment is the Labor Code, which is supplemented by other labor-related laws and regulations. The current strategy of the government is to seek a balance between the employers’ and employees’ interests. The following general trends currently characterize Russian labor relations:
- More employees are taking employment grievances to the courts and to labor inspection bodies;
- The government is conducting more labor audits of commercial companies; and
- The government is more strictly enforcing federal and regional labor legislation.
While the Labor Code had been stable for years, the legislature has recently begun to adapt it to current economic and political conditions. The major issue on which labor law has focused recently is accidents at work. Legislative action in this area has been supported by numerous inspections by state employment services and prosecutors’ offices.
Hours & Pay Regulations
The Labor Code does not specify a standard workday. The standard workweek generally may not exceed 40 hours. The Labor Code specifies standard workweeks under 40 hours for some categories of employees:
- Employees under the age of 16: 24 hrs per week;
- Employees 16 to 18 years of age: 35 hrs per week;
- Employees with disabilities: 35 hrs per week; and
- Employees in hazardous, unhealthy or dangerous conditions: 36 hrs per week.
Such employees enjoy reduced working time without their pay being reduced. Pay for part-time employees is prorated based on the actual working time.
The workweek must include a rest period of 42 continuous hours, whether the workweek is five or six days. The Labor Code does not require particular days of the week to be days off but notes that Sunday is a common day off and that in the case of five-day workweeks, the two days off are usually consecutive. Employers are also obliged to reduce the length of the workday or shift directly before a public holiday by one hour. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 91-92, 95-96 (Russian); Federal Law of June 18, 2017, No. 125-FZ (Russian).
Overtime pay is set by federal law as 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for the first two hours beyond normal working hours and 2.0 times the regular rate of pay for all working hours beyond that.
Overtime cannot exceed four hours in two days or 120 hours in a year for each employee.
Collective bargaining agreements can also address the specific compensation granted during overtime work. Employees must give written consent to work overtime. Employers must record all overtime hours worked by employees.
Pregnant women may not be required to work overtime hours, and women with children under three years of age can only work overtime hours with their expressed consent. Employees assisting handicapped children until age 18 are also entitled to these provisions. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 97-99, 149, 152 (Russian).
Night work is defined as that performed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Employees who were not hired to do night work and who do not already have shortened workdays must have their shifts shortened by one hour when they do night work.
Pregnant women and employees younger than 18 years old are not allowed to perform night work unless they work in the media or entertainment fields. Women having children under 3 years old, employees having children with disabilities, single parents having children under 5, employees caring for a sick family member and employees with disabilities can do night work only if they give their express prior written consent. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 97-99, 149, 152 (Russian).
Workers are entitled during each workday to a meal/rest break of not less than 30 minutes and not more than two hours. Employers are not required to provide a meal break during any work shift that lasts fewer than four hours. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 91-92, 95-96 (Russian).
The Labor Code does not require particular days of the week to be days off but notes that Sunday is a common day off and that in the case of five-day workweeks, the two days off are usually consecutive. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 91-92, 95-96 (Russian).
Employees are entitled to the following 8 paid public holidays:
- Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
- Jan. 7: Orthodox Christmas Day
- Feb. 23: Defenders of the Fatherland Day
- March 8: International Women’s Day
- May 1: Spring and Labor Day
- May 9: Victory Day
- June 12: Russia Day
- Nov. 4: National Unity Day
Holidays that fall on weekends are observed on the next business day. Workdays preceding a public holiday are reduced by one hour. Employees cannot generally be required to work on holidays, although they can agree to work. For companies with continuous operations (e.g., factories, stores), work on holidays may be authorized.
Employees can be required to work on holidays to prevent or in the aftermath of workplace accidents, during emergencies or martial law if a natural disaster is imminent or in the aftermath of one or if they are in certain media or entertainment jobs. Employees who work on holidays get double pay or an additional day off. Collective agreements or individual employment contracts may specify higher payment rates. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 115-117, 125, 153 (Russian).
Employees are entitled to 28 days of paid leave a year after six continuous months of work with a company. Annual leave does not need to be taken all at once, but at least one increment must be 14 or more calendar days. Employees can ask for compensation in lieu of any annual leave entitlement in excess of 28 days. Unused vacation may be carried over to the following year.
Employees in hazardous jobs, such as mining and work with radioactive materials, or who have irregular workdays are entitled to additional days off. When employees leave a job, they are entitled to be paid for unused leave. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 115-117, 125-126 (Russian).
Effective for 2019, the national minimum wage is 11,280 rubles a month. Regional governments can set higher minimums.
Night work is paid at an increased rate established by government regulations and varies depending on the industry; the current minimum increase is 20 percent. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 184, 219 (Russian).
Female employees are entitled to 70 days of paid prenatal leave, extended to 84 days if more than one child is expected. After the child is born, female employees are entitled to take 70 days of postnatal leave, extended to 86 days in cases of complications in childbirth or 110 days in the event of the birth of two or more children.
Allowances during pregnancy and maternity leave are paid by the Social Insurance Fund. The Labor Code prohibits business trips, overtime work, night work or work on days off and holidays for pregnant women. A woman with a child under 3 years of age also cannot be required to perform such duties.
Women with children up to 1.5 years old are entitled to take half-hour breaks every three hours to feed the child. If the mother has two or more children that young, she must be given hourly breaks. Breaks to feed children are included in working time. Pregnant women cannot be dismissed except due to the liquidation of the business.
A mother, father, or other relative is also entitled to leave to care for a child under 3 years of age. Child care leave is paid through the Social Insurance Fund at 40 percent of regular wages until a child is 11/2years of age. During ages 11/2 to 3, Social Insurance Fund payments are minimal. Payment amounts vary within the Russian Federation. Employees are guaranteed the right to return to their jobs following child care leave. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), arts. 255, 261 (Russian).
There is no statutory entitlement to paternity leave, although new fathers may qualify for parental leave. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), art. 256 (Russian); Law on State Benefits for Citizens with Children, art. 15 (Russian).
Parents are entitled to leave to care for a child under 3 years of age. Child care leave is paid through the Social Insurance Fund at 40 percent of regular wages until a child is 11/2 years of age. Employees who have three or more children under the age of 12 are entitled to take parental leave at a time that is convenient for them. Law on Compulsory Social Insurance for Temporary Disability, arts. 5, 11.2 (Russian).
Medical care is free to employees through the social security system and is partially funded by employers. Employees unable to work due to a non-work-related illness or other injury are entitled to sick leave compensation until they can return to work. The employer pays a temporary disability allowance for the first three days and the Social Insurance Fund pays for the remainder of the time. The employer can offset its expenses against its Social Insurance Fund liability. The amount of the sick leave benefit depends on how long an employee has been covered under the social security system:
- Less than six months: minimum wage;
- More than six months and up to five years: 60% of average earnings;
- More than five years and up to eight years: 80% of average earnings; and
- More than eight years: 100% of average earnings.
These amounts are paid for the first 10 days of leave. Thereafter, payments are reduced by 50%. Law on Compulsory Social Insurance for Temporary Disability, arts. 5, 11.2 (Russian).
Employees can take paid leave to care for a sick family member of up to seven calendar days for one illness and 30 calendar days in a year. Family leave is paid by the Social Insurance Fund in the same amounts as sick leave. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), art. 128 (Russian); Federal Law No. 360-FZ Amending the Russian Labor Code, 2018 (Russian).
Employers are obliged to grant unpaid leave to the following groups of employees upon receipt of a written request:
- World War II Veterans: up to 35 days per year;
- Working Retirees: up to 14 days per year;
- Parents/Spouses of Military Personnel Who Died During Active Duty: up to 14 days per year;
- Employees with Disabilities: up to 60 days per year; and
- Childbirth, Marriage or Death of Close Relative: up to 5 days per year.
Upon mutual agreement between an employer and an employee, unpaid leave may be granted to the employee for an unlimited period of time. Labor Code, 2001, No. 197-FZ (as amended), art. 128 (Russian); Federal Law No. 360-FZ Amending the Russian Labor Code, 2018 (Russian).
Last updated on: February 11th, 2019