COVID-19 and labour costs in Russia

The Covid-19 pandemic has already brought many problems to authorities, legal entities and individuals. One of the problems is related to the decreased workload of employees and the remaining obligation of employers to pay salaries. The Russian Labor Code provides the following tools for resolving the situation:

1) Standby time;

2) Lay-offs;

3) Financial support measures from the state.

During standby time the employer is obligated to pay 2/3 of the employee’s salary. Standby time must be a result of the lack of work and requires the employer to undertake measures to remedy the situation. In reason to introduce standby time during the COVID-19 pandemic, the employer shall issue an order thereof and notify relevant employees.

Employer’s are entitled to lay-off employee’s in specific situations. At the same time, Russian Labour Code does not provide with a possibility to lay-off employees due to Covid-19, though some urgently issued regional acts allow such a measure if an employee has symptoms of the Covid-19 virus or has returned from abroad less than 14 days ago.

Russian state has declared non-working days till the end of April, 2020. We will not consider here legal grounds and formal effect of such a decision, but since not all of employers were ready to meet such a burden, the state had to provide with additional support. Direct financial support payable to employers at the moment is equal to 12 130 roubles per 1 employee, per month. The support can be received by employers that have kept at least 90% of their workforce. The mechanism for obtaining and receiving the support is currently being developed by the government.