Extension of restrictions and non-working days in May 2020

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By Decree No. 294 of the Russian President dated 28 April 2020[1] (the “Decree”) the restrictive measures aimed at combating the coronavirus have been extended until 11 May 2020.

The adoption of such Decree was expected, but it has its own subtle aspects. Unlike the previous Decree No. 239 of the Russian President dated 2 April 2020 which announced the entire April to be non-working, with salaries to be paid, this Decree announces only three days as non-working from 6 May until 8 May 2020. This means that days from 1 until 5 May and from 9 May until 11 May remain simple days-off and public holidays, despite there being no traditional May holiday celebrations this year owing to the restrictions related to the coronavirus.

In our opinion, the following conclusions can be made from the above:

  • work (including remote work) in the days from 1 until 5 May and from 9 until 11 May needs to comply with the procedure and guarantees must be provided as established by the Russian Labour Code for work during days-off and on public holidays. Work on the above days should be paid in double of amount or in the single amount, but with the provision of an additional day-off;
  • Employees for whom the days from 1 until 5 May and from 9 until 11 May are working according to the schedule can work on these days if their employers are not covered by the restrictive measures pursuant to decrees of the Russian President and regional legislation. Payment for work on these days will be made in the ordinary amount;
  • for employees for whom the days from 1 until 5 May and from 9 until 11 May should be working days according to the schedule, but who cannot work owing to the activity of the employer being temporarily suspended (for example, shopping centres, restaurants) the employer has the right to announce a shut-down for reasons beyond the employer’s and employee’s control with payment of 2/3 of the monthly salary or tariff rate. Since these days do not have the status of ‘non-working days with salaries to be paid’, a decrease of the salary on these days in connection with the shut-down does not violate the Decree of the Russian President.

In addition, please note that the Decree has amended the list of organisations which are not covered by the Decree by adding organisations that have equipment designated for a continuous technical process (clause 3(a) of the Decree).

What to think about and what to do

The presence of days in May 2020 with different status (‘non-working’ days, days-off and public holidays, and working days) may cause many practical issues, associated with the calculation of salaries for May and with documenting work during these days.

We also recommend starting now to plan measures aimed at returning to standard work if the restrictions associated with the coronavirus are gradually removed after 12 May 2020. For example, based on our experience, in a number of European countries certain employers faced mass absenteeism of employees when the restrictions were removed. As a result the employers had to urgently search to replace the absent employees in order to ensure the working processes. In the case of such scenario, we recommend working out in advance the measures which employers will take if a part of the employees do not come back to their work places after the ‘self-isolation’ regime is cancelled.

Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers have extensive experience of resolving a wide range of labour law matters and will be ready to provide support in any issues associated with labour relationships.

[1] Decree No. 294 of the Russian President dated 28 April 2020 “On extending the measures for ensuring sanitary and epidemiological safety of the public in the Russian Federation in connection with the spread of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19)”.

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