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COVID-19 in Russia: What should employers take into account during the non-working week and general self-isolation regime?

Written by
ALRUD, a confident Russian leader in labour and employment law.
From 30 March 2020, a week of ‘non-working days’ has been declared for Russia, and a general self-isolation regime has been introduced for all residents of the city of Moscow and the Moscow region. The end date of the isolation regime is still unknown.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation has published on its website recommendations for employees and employers, in connection with the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of 25 March 2020 ‘On declaring non-working days in the Russian Federation’. In addition, from 30 March 2020, a general self-isolation regime has been introduced for all residents of the city of Moscow and the Moscow region, regardless of age. The end date of the general isolation regime is still unknown. Employers should take into account the following information.

Who will continue working? 

The decree and recommendations provide an extensive list of exceptions to the general rule of non-working days during the week of 30 March. Of note, employees of organizations who continue to carry out official labour activities can work remotely, under an agreement with the employer, if their official duties and organisational and technical working conditions allow it.

The non-working days do not apply to employees who ensure the continuity of production in the industries listed in the recommendations. Employers have the right to determine, with the consent of employees, the need for a particular employee to participate in the continuous-production process.

Who can work remotely? 

Employees who work remotely under an agreement with their employers have the right to continue this regime of work during the period the decree is in force, following mandatory compliance with the requirements for preventing new coronavirus infections.

The transition to a remote working regime during the period the decree is in force can be made by exchanging electronic documents, if necessary, followed by their registration, in accordance with the established procedure.


A non-working day under the decree does not apply to weekends or holidays, so salary payments must be made in the usual amount.


If the employee is on vacation, the non-working days from 30 March to 3 April 2020 are not included in the number of vacation days, and the vacation for these days is not extended.

Home self-isolation mode 

In accordance with the Decree of the Mayor of Moscow and Resolution of the Governor of the Moscow Region, leaving home is allowed for:

  • travel to and from a place of allowed activity, including work that is not suspended; or
  • movement within the territory of Moscow if such movement is directly related to the implementation of activities that are not suspended, including the provision of transport and delivery services.


Social distancing 

Authorities, organizations, and individual entrepreneurs, as well as other persons whose activities are related to the assembly of citizens, are required to ensure social distancing by applying special markings and establishing a regime of limited admission and use of buildings and their surroundings.

Employers who have decided to allow remote work for a period of ‘non-working days’ or who are following a general regime of self-isolation should comply with the following rules:

  • Any changes in the working conditions of employees that involve remote working (either from home or from elsewhere) must be formalized by signing an addition to the employment contract.
  • The remote working arrangement should be regulated in internal labour regulations.
  • When employees are transferring to remote work from home, the employer continues to be responsible for ensuring safe working conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to regulate this issue at the local level and to set forth the relevant rights and obligations of the parties in employment contracts with employees.
  • Particular attention should be paid to protecting trade secrets and confidential information. To ensure this, employers should update, adapt, or create the necessary documents establishing the corresponding regime and responsibility for its violation.