1. What options do employers have and/or what are you seeing in terms of re-opening the workplace e.g. phased returns, rotating shifts, staggered working hours, etc.?
Employers may reopen the workplace, taking into account the restrictive measures introduced by public authorities.
In accordance with the recommendations of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer
Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), employers are advised to take a number of measures, including:
- limiting contact between collectives of individual groups that are not connected by a single production aim; and
- dividing workflows and teams by placing employees on different floors or in separate offices and by organising work in several shifts.
2. Does an employer have to give notice to employees to return to the workplace?
It is recommended to notify employees. There is no statutory obligation on employers to send employees notice of completion of the remote work period.
Depending on the method chosen by the employer to document the transfer to temporary remote work in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the employer should perform the following:
- If the transfer was documented by an order, issue an order on the completion of the period of temporary remote work and send employees a corresponding notice (e.g. by email).
- If the transfer was documented by an additional agreement, notify the employee of the completion of the period of temporary remote work in accordance with the terms of the additional agreement signed earlier (and/or sign new additional agreements, if applicable).
3. Is an employer obliged to consult with employees/representatives about the return to work process?
No. The issue of resuming work at workplaces (office, production site) is taken by the employer independently, taking into account the restrictions established by state bodies. Employers are not obliged to carry out collective or individual consultations with employees.
4. Are there any requirements or recommendations for employees to wear or employers to provide masks or other protective equipment in the workplace?
Yes, employers must provide their employees with personal protective equipment (masks, respirators), except when the employee works in a separate room.
State authorities at regional level may establish additional requirements. For example, in Moscow, employers are required to provide workers with personal protective equipment for hands (gloves).
5. When can business travel resume and what are the key considerations for employers?
Business travel is not legally prohibited or restricted. However, business travel is not recommended until the situation stabilises, and remote audio-video communication should be used instead.
6. If schools remain closed, can working parents continue to work from home?
Russian legislation does not recognise these circumstances as a justifiable reason for an employee to refuse to work from the office. By agreement between the employer and the employee, the employee can continue to work from home.