Fighting coronavirus: what employers in Russia should do

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Pepeliaev Group advises that Russian authorities of different levels have started to take measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus. Employers should take them into account.

In connection with the continuing spread of coronavirus and the measures being taken by the state authorities to prevent it from spreading, employers have the following questions: what legal mechanisms should be used in order not to allow employees to the office who have returned from ‘dangerous’ regions; and how to send home a colleague who is clearly becoming ill, but continues to work and does not want to contact a doctor.

When planning measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus, employers need to pay attention to existing legal restrictions, in particular, the list of reasons for suspending employees from work, established by article 76 of the Russian Labour Code.

Employers that carry out their activities in Moscow also need to take into account the Order No. 12-UM of the Mayor of Moscow “On introducing a regime of high alert” dated 5 March 2020. This order imposes additional obligations on Moscow employers, in particular:

  • to ensure the measurement of body temperature for employees at their work stations and suspend those with an increased temperature from working at their work stations;
  • to assist employees in ensuring the regime of self-isolation at home for a period of up to 14 days when they return from countries with an adverse situation connected with the spread of the new coronavirus infection.

Employers should independently develop a mechanism for the implementation of these measures, acting within the framework of the labour legislation and taking into account the specifics of their business. In particular, it is necessary for them to search for an acceptable way to formalise the ‘self-isolation’ regime for both the employer and the employee. Please note that the most popular solution is remote work, but it is not possible for all professions.

In addition, employers need to take into account that sick leave certificates in Moscow are now executed according to a simplified procedure, as stated on the website of the Moscow Mayor[1]. A sick leave certificate can now be received at home by courier delivery, by just calling a hotline[2]. At the same time such sick leave certificate can be backdated.


From the standpoint of labour relationships such a simplified procedure for issuing sick leave certificates on the one hand allows self-isolation to be organised. However, on the other hand it may entail abuse on the part of employees, which will create difficulties with imposing disciplinary liability on them for being absent from work.

What to think about and what to do

What internal regulation to issue in order to regulate new obligations of employees and the employer, how to succeed in persuading employees to fulfil the prescribed actions (temperature measurement, etc.), what documents should be issued when an employee is suspended from work, what are the legal alternatives to suspension, what measures the employer may take to assist in self-isolation, which solutions are popular on the market, and what liability is possible for the employer. These are only some of the possible questions to be resolved by employers.

Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers are ready to provide legal assistance to employers with these and other questions associated with applying measures preventing the spread of coronavirus.

We will also analyse the specifics of your business and propose additional measures which may be taken in view of the requirements of labour legislation.

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