This content is locked!

To access this resource log in or Subscribe to Core.

Get instant access to 3 free resources of your choice. No credit card required.

Sign up now for free access

Employment Law in Russia

The Russian Federation (often referred to as Russia) is a federal republic, made up of over 80 “federal subjects”. These are a mixture of republics, regions, territories and cities, but for simplicity are all referred to in this article as regions. The federal level is the more important in terms of employment legislation: while individual regions are empowered to adopt their own legislation, this must be consistent with federal laws, and in practice the regional level is significant only in a few areas, such as setting minimum wages and quotas for the employment of people with disabilities. However, employees who work in the areas of the Federation that are designated as being in the “Far North”, or its equivalent in terms of remoteness or climate, have additional statutory entitlements in areas such as pay and annual leave.

The Labour Code (Трудовой кодекс) of the Russian Federation, adopted in its current form in 2001 and amended frequently since, contains almost all statutory provisions related to individual and collective employment relations. One of the few areas governed by separate legislation — the Federal Law on Trade Unions (No. 10-FZ of 12 January 1996) — is the operation and rights of trade unions.

In this article, we summarise mainly the Labour Code’s provisions that are of general application. The Code contains special provisions, not covered here, on certain aspects (eg working time and rest) of the employment of groups such as transport workers, healthcare workers, teachers, arts and entertainment workers, employees of religious organisations, employees working for private individuals, and employees posted to work in remote areas. This article does though cover the Code’s specific provisions that apply to “heads of organisations” — this refers to the most senior manager in an organisation, such as a chief executive.

Case law interprets the Labour Code and other legislation relevant to employment.

Collective agreements at various levels govern pay and conditions for around four out of 10 employees, though coverage is lower in the private sector. Other important sources of law are individual employment contracts and the “local regulations” that employers must draw up (in consultation with employee representatives), dealing with matters such as working time, recruitment, termination and discipline.

The terms of an employment contract must not be less advantageous for the employee than the relevant provision of employment legislation, the employer’s local regulations and any applicable collective agreements. Local regulations must comply with employment legislation and any applicable collective agreements, while collective agreements must not contain terms that limit employees’ rights, or reduce their level of guarantees, in comparison with those established by employment legislation.

This article deals with employment law in the private sector only.

Employment Law in Russia: Quick Facts
  • An employer must not refuse to recruit a job applicant without justification (ie for reasons not based on that person’s “occupational qualities as an employee”). Recruitment and Selection

  • A probationary period must not generally exceed three months, or six months in the case of certain senior managers. Recruitment and Selection

  • Employment contracts must be in writing and contain terms and information relating to specified issues. Employment Contracts

  • Fixed-term contracts have a maximum duration of five years and may be used only in certain circumstances permitted by law. Employment Contracts

  • The terms of employment contracts may generally be changed only if the employer and employee agree in writing, but an employer may initiate amendments to a contract if a change in organisational or technological conditions makes it impossible to maintain the contract’s terms. Employment Contracts

  • Wages must generally be paid in cash or by bank transfer at least twice per month, accompanied by a written statement, and deductions may be made only where required or permitted by law. Pay and Benefits

  • There is a statutory federal minimum wage while individual regions may set their own higher minimum wage rates. Pay and Benefits

  • In general, employees’ normal working time must not exceed 40 hours per week, but certain flexibility arrangements are available. Working Time, Rest and Holidays

  • In general, employees must consent to working overtime, are limited to 120 hours’ overtime per year and are entitled to a wage supplement of least 50% for the first two hours of overtime on any day, and 100% for any subsequent overtime (or time off in lieu in certain circumstances). Working Time, Rest and Holidays

  • As a rule, employees must be granted a rest and meal break, lasting from 30 minutes to two hours, during the working day, and (if they work a five-day week) two weekly rest days. Working Time, Rest and Holidays

  • All employees are entitled to at least 28 calendar days of paid annual leave, during which they receive their average wages. Working Time, Rest and Holidays

  • Working mothers are entitled to 20 weeks’ maternity leave, while parents (or other relatives) may take childcare leave in the period up until a child’s third birthday. Parenthood and Work-life Balance

  • Employees who are unable to work because of sickness or injury are entitled to sick leave and sickness benefit (worth 60%–100% of average wages) and cannot generally be dismissed during their absence. Parenthood and Work-life Balance

  • Discrimination in employment is prohibited on grounds of sex, age, race, skin colour, nationality, language, origin, property status, family status, social status or position, age, place of residence, attitude to religion, belief, membership or non-membership of a trade union, or any other circumstances not related to an individual’s “occupational qualities as an employee”. Equality and Discrimination

  • There is no specific statutory prohibition of sexual harassment, or harassment on grounds such as race or disability, in the employment context, or obligation on employers to prevent such harassment. Equality and Discrimination

  • Workers are entitled to set up, join and leave trade unions, and to engage in union activity, and must not be subject to any discrimination because of their membership or non-membership of a trade union. Industrial Relations and Collective Rights

  • Employers are obliged to engage in collective bargaining if requested to do so by a trade union with members among their employees. Industrial Relations and Collective Rights

  • At company level, workplace trade union organisations conduct collective bargaining and have consultative rights over a range of issues; in cases where there are no such organisations, or none that represents more than 50% of employees, employees may elect a representative body that has a similar role. Industrial Relations and Collective Rights

  • Employers have numerous health and safety obligations, while employees have various duties and rights in this area. Occupational Health and Safety

  • An employer may dismiss an employee only for the reasons explicitly stated in the Labour Code. Termination of Employment

  • There is no general statutory requirement that employers must give employees notice of dismissal, but at least two months’ notice must be given where dismissal is due to redundancy or workforce reduction. Termination of Employment

  • Employees are entitled to a severance payment from their employer (generally of no more than three months’ wages) when they are dismissed on certain grounds, notably redundancy or workforce reduction. Termination of Employment

  • Employers must (in consultation with employee representatives) adopt “local regulations” governing matters such as the basic rights and duties of the employees and employer, recruitment rules, termination rules, the working time and rest regime, incentives for employees and disciplinary rules. Other Key Issues