Things to be Considered by Any HR Specialist When Preparing the Company for Lockdown-Publication
Olga Abashnikova,

Lead Methodology Expert, Unicon Outsourcing

The Russian Presidential Decree on the stay-at-home days neither amends the Labour Code nor modifies the 2021 occupational calendar. Olga Abashnikova will explain how to comply with all legal requirements during the lockdown

Where to Begin

Before anything else, it is necessary to realize that the Russian Presidential Decree on the stay-at-home days does not amend the Labour Code, which is the reason why this period should not be qualified as categories.

Nor does the decree modify the 2021 occupational calendar: it keeps the standard working time unchanged, which means that the employer may not force its employees to work extra in order to make up for the hours when they stayed at home due to the order.

Similar to the decree adopted in May, the presidential order applies to all companies and their employees. However, the literal interpretation of the new order suggests that legal entities will have to identify the number of employees required to support the operation of non-stop industrial facilities and social services, ensure security, safety, and timely payment of wages. This requirement stems from the purpose of the stay-at-home days – to limit the number of contacts and prevent a new wave of cases.

To that end, the employer should start by:
  • Drawing up a list of employees who will continue working at their workplace in accordance with their work patterns;
  • Issuing the relevant company order justifying the need for the employees to come to their workplaces;
  • Make all employees aware of the order.

What should an HR specialist know about the documentation of stay-at-home days?

1. If the employee continues working at the workplace

Considering that the employer does not order its employees to work but rather releases them from work, and that the stay-at-home days do not qualify as public holidays or weekend days, HR specialists are not required to secure the consent from the employees who will continue working from their workplace during this period. In case of such employees, it is necessary to put code “Я” in the time sheet.

In case of the employees to be released from work during the period under consideration, it is necessary to put the code approved by the company order (e.g., “НОД”, “НО”) in the time sheet. Multiple entities already approved such codes earlier at the time when anti-COVID measures and restrictions were first introduced.

2. If the employee goes on a scheduled vacation

The employer does not have to reschedule the scheduled vacation dates if they coincide with the stay-at-home period but may do so by agreement with the employee. This period will normally be designated with code “ОТ” in the time sheet (or any other code approved by the company to designate the vacation days).

3. In case of a scheduled business trip

The employer shall examine the practicality of the employee’s business trip:
  • To what extent will the entity serving as the employee’s business trip destination operate during the stay-at-home days?
  • Is it possible to reschedule or change the format of the meeting? Stay-at-home days have been announced in order to limit people’s contacts and travel from one region to the other, which puts business trips in conflict with the purpose of the decree despite they are not expressly prohibited thereby.
4. In case of the intention to dismiss the employee

If the dismissal was scheduled for the stay-at-home period, it is best to agree to reschedule the date either to the last business day of October or first business day of November case by case. Otherwise, in order to dismiss the employee, pay his/her wages, and issue the employment documents to such employee, the accountant and HR specialist will have to come to work on a stay-at-home day.

How to pay for the stay-at-home days?

Stay-at-home days provide no grounds for rescheduling the payment of wages. However, the decree applies to the credit institutions as well; therefore, it is necessary to agree on the date of transferring wages with the bank separately. When calculating the amount of payments, it is necessary to remember the following considerations:
  • The employees to be released from work during this period should not be at a disadvantage: they are supposed to receive their wages in the amount provided for by the employment agreement made with the company;
  • The stay-at-home days are not subject to the overtime pay rules: the pay for a stay-at-home day should be the same as the pay for a regular working day designated with code “Я” in the time sheet. Thus, both the employees who come to work and the employees who stay at home are supposed to receive the same amount of wages in full;
  • According to the occupational calendar, November has 20 working days. The employees with a five-day work week who will stay at home in the period from 1 November through 3 November are supposed to receive their official salary for 17 working days and payment for three stay-at-home days prorated to their official salary for these days. As a result, the employee is supposed to receive the amount equal to a full official salary provided that he/she has no sick days or vacation days during this month.
The employer is free to reward the employees working during this period at its sole discretion.

May a company announce a downtime?

Due to operational limitations, businesses’ profits do down, but their costs stay the same, which is the reason why certain managers look for ways to decrease payments to those employees who stay at home. However, there are no legal ways to do so, and the entity will be unable to announce a downtime.

First, it is allowed to announce a downtime on working days only – not in the period when the employees are supposed to stay at home. The business interruption order is supposed to specify the objective economic or technological reasons not subject to the presidential decree.

Second, it is allowed not to compensate an employee during the downtime only if such downtime has been caused by wrongdoing on the part of the employee.

Third, the decree mandates to keep the employees’ wages, which means that the employer has no legal grounds to decrease payments.

Source: RBK Pro


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