Russian Federation: Recommendations regarding how companies should organize their work – Organisation during the period between 12 May and 31 May

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published on 13 May 2020 | reading time approx. 5 min.

 

On 7 May 2020 the Mayor of Moscow issued a new decree – Decree no. 55-UM – clarifying the rules for the high-alert regime between 12 May and 31 May 2020. Please find below our clarifying comments to the principal matters concerning employer obligations.

  

  

What new regulations does this Decree introduce (in an overview):

  • General quarantine regime extended till 31 May;
  • Some entities may resume their work on 12 May, but the employers are under an obligation to perform mass tests of their employees for Covid-19;
  • Employers may not allow pregnant women and persons suffering from certain diseases and health conditions to work on company premises;
  • Employers are obliged to install partitions between workplaces in the rooms where it is not possible to comply with the employee social distancing requirements;
  • RosPotrebNadzor recommendations were declared mandatory to follow.

 

What companies can resume their work on 12 May?

Some restrictions have been removed from manufacturing and construction companies in the first place. In particular, companies operating in the following spheres were removed from the list of entities whose personnel are not allowed to work on company premises:

  • Architecture and engineering design; technical testing, research and analysis;
  • Manufacture of textiles, clothing, leather items;
  • Manufacture of rubber and plastic products;
  • Manufacture of furniture;
  • Repair and assembly of machinery and equipment;
  • Construction of buildings and engineering structures;
  • Specialised construction work types;
  • Manufacture of paper and paper products (excepting packagings for the food industry, pharmaceutics and medical activities);
  • Manufacture of other non-metal mineral products;
  • Manufacture of metallurgy products;
  • Manufacture of finished metal items other than machinery and equipment;
  • Manufacture of computers, electronic and optical products;
  • Manufacture of electrical equipment;
  • Manufacture of machinery and equipment not included in other groups;
  • Manufacture of other finished products.

 

An exhaustive list of such activity spheres for companies can be found in Appendix 3 to the Decree.

 

What new obligations were imposed on the employers whose operations have not been suspended or whose suspension has been withdrawn? What is the correct approach for the discharge of these obligations?

Obligation I:

The employer may not admit the following employee types to work on company premises: pregnant women, persons suffering from certain diseases and health conditions (such as diabetes and obesity as well as other diseases and health conditions listed in Item 1.1 of Appendix 6 to the Decree) as well as persons showing symptoms of a respiratory distress syndrome or having someone with such symptoms in their household.


Correct approach to discharge the obligation:
Since Article 65 of the Russian Labour Code does not allow demanding from employees to disclose such information, but this information is necessary for the employer’s decision-making, it should be mentioned in the request for this information that the employee is under no obligation to disclose it and is only requested to do so in accordance with the Mayor’s Decree to protect employee health. Such employees should be transferred to teleworking on the basis of a written agreement. Where teleworking is not possible, the employees concerned may be granted their outstanding paid leave for the year based on their applications to the effect - or the company CEO may issue an internal order extending the regime of non-working days to such employees.Arbeitgeber dürfen Schwangere und Personen mit bestimmten Erkrankungen (Diabetes, Fettleibigkeit, andere gemäß Punkt 1.1. Anlage Nr. 6 zur Verordnung) nicht zur Präsenzarbeit zulassen, dasselbe gilt, wenn die betreffende Person oder die mit ihr zusammenlebenden Personen Symptome von Atemwegserkrankungen aufweisen.  

 

Obligation II:

The employer must ensure that employees wear means of personal protection (masks and gloves) protecting their hands and respiratory system at their workplaces and on the employer’s premises, except where the employee is working in a separate room.

 

Correct approach to discharge the obligation:
Management should issue a company order establishing the rules for use of personal protection means and pointing out the obligation to comply with the Mayor's Decree. It is also recommended to ensure that the entire personnel have protective masks and gloves.

 

Obligation III:

The employer must ensure that at least ten per cent of the personnel are tested for the new Covid-19 infection during the period between 12 May and 31 May 2020.

 

Correct approach to discharge the obligation:
It should be assumed that the Decree means ten per cent of the employees currently working on the employer’s premises. The testing procedure must also be approved by a company order and the employees should be made aware thereof and got to acknowledge this awareness with their signature. The list of laboratories authorised to perform testing for Covid-19 is available on RosPotrebNadzor website at:
https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/region/korono_virus/perechen_lab.php


A service contract will have to be concluded with the chosen laboratory. The expense to perform the tests is to be borne by the employer.

 

Obligation IV:

The employer must “ensure collection of employee blood samples for laboratory enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) testing thereof for the presence of the new Covid-19 infection (2019-nCoV) and immunity thereto in accordance with the procedure and within the terms established by the Moscow Department of Public Health”.

 

Correct approach to discharge the obligation:
It should be expected that the above department will issue a separate order regarding the procedure for interaction between companies and medical institutions for this purpose. We recommend contacting the Moscow Department of Public Health directly as early as at this stage using their phone hotline +7 499 2518 300 in order to clarify details.

 

Employers are obliged to install partitions between workplaces in the rooms where it is not possible to comply with the employee social distancing requirements.

Employers are obliged to ensure compliance with the recommendations issued by RosPotrebNadzor to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection.


At present this Federal service has published some recommendations on its website as to how work must be organised in companies operating in the sphere of construction, services and public catering, in case of work under a rotation system as well as some other recommendations available at: https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/region/korono_virus/rek_ros.php

 

Do the above obligations only apply to entities whose activity type is not included in the list in Appendix 3 to the Decree - or to all employers whose personnel are working on the employer’s premises because of the nature of their job functions (such as accountants, IT staff)?

According to a literal interpretation of the above-mentioned decree, the obligations only apply to companies not covered by the operations lockdown or restrictions. The intent of thenew obligations is to prevent an outbreak of the infection after employees return on a mass scale to work on the employer’s premises.

 

What else should one keep in mind?

The general recommendations regarding teleworking of employees apply even where the company’s operations are not covered by any restrictions or where such restrictions have already been removed. The employer is also obliged to submit information on the number of their employees working on the employer’s premises and of those working from home on a standard form provided in Appendix 4 to the Decree.

 

What happens with digital passes?

Decree no. 56-UM says that the work passes valid till 11 May 2020 will be extended up to and inclusive 31 May 2020. As a general rule, employees are independently responsible for having a valid pass. If the company’s operations have been suspended, the system may not allow the employees of that company to obtain passes; in that case the company should first submit a list of the employees requiring a pass through the company’s personal account at mos.ru and then the employees from the list will be able to have their passes extended or issued. You can find out which group your company has been included in by entering the company’s taxpayer identification number (INN) in a special service window at: https://i.moscow/covid. There is no single exhaustive list of companies whose employees are entitled to be issued work passes; supervising officers may check the authorisation to have passes issued on case-by-case basis.

 

How are redundancies, personnel reductions and downtime regulated during the period of non-working days?

The Mayor's Decree does not include any specific regulations regarding termination of the employment relationship during the high-alert period. However, the Ministry of Labour has commented on the matters in a new issue of its Q&A materials at: https://rosmintrud.ru/employment/54.


It says in particular that the employer may only declare downtime where the company is not subject to the lockdown regime. Otherwise it will be treated as non-compliance with the Presidential Decree on continued payment of salaries and wages for non-working days.

 

As for redundancies, companies subject to non-working days regime may not make anyone redundant during the lockdown period as a general rule. However, termination of the employment relationship is allowed on case-by-case basis under an individual agreement. In case of redundancies due to personnel or staffing list reductions, where the termination notice period expires on a non-working day the employee is deemed made redundant on the next working day after the end of the paid non-working period.

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