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Evaluating working conditions in Russia: what do all employers need to know?

Written by
ALRUD, a confident Russian leader in labour and employment law.
Authors
Irina Anyukhina
Partner - Russia
ALRUD
Elena Chershintseva
Associate - Russia
ALRUD
Russia
31.05.21
3
In Russia, all employers must complete a ‘special evaluation of working conditions’, for all workplaces. The Federal Labour & Employment Service now checks compliance with this health and safety requirement automatically. This article considers the main issues relating to special evaluations of working conditions and the new remote monitoring of compliance.
General information

Russian law requires all employers to complete a ‘special evaluation of working conditions’, in all workplaces, in order to: 

  • identify harmful or hazardous conditions at the workplace; 
  • assess their impact on employees; 
  • determine the degree of deviation from established legal standards. 

 

The evaluation can only be performed by independent organisations, which are specifically accredited to provide these services. 

Each employer must include the results of the special evaluation in employment agreements and publish the summary of the results on the organisation’s website (if it has one). The accredited organisation that conducts the evaluation must also submit the results to the Federal State Information System for Accounting for the results of a special evaluation of working conditions of the Ministry of Labour (the ‘information system’). The results can only be used after this notification. 

What is it for?

According to the results of a special evaluation of working conditions, based on an employee’s exposure, the category of working conditions at the specific workplace (‘optimal’, ‘permissible’, ‘harmful’ or ‘dangerous’) is defined. 

The category of working conditions affects, in particular, the amount of the additional rate of insurance contributions, the level of guarantees and compensation provided to employees who are engaged in harmful, or hazardous, production (e.g. additional annual leave, reduced working hours, increased wages, etc.). 

Improving working conditions and reducing harmful, or hazardous, factors therefore reduce the employer’s costs, because it leads to a decrease in the additional rate, amount of compensation payments and other guarantees. However, this applies only to certain categories (excluding ‘optimal’ and ‘permissible’). 

Period of validity: latest changes

From 30 December 2020, the special evaluation is valid for an indefinite period of time, if the conditions at the workplace have not changed. This rule also applies to any special evaluations of working conditions which are already in force in organisations.  

Before 30 December 2020, the special evaluation could only be automatically extended for five years. After this period, organisations had to conduct a new special evaluation of working conditions. 

Currently, unless there are some specific circumstances (see below), organisations are no longer required to re-conduct a special evaluation for workplaces where: 

  • no harmful (hazardous) production factors were identified; 
  • working conditions are recognised as ‘optimal’, or ‘permissible’; 
  • the special evaluation is valid. 

 

Special circumstances include industrial accidents, occupational diseases and violations of labour protection requirements. 

How do automatic checks work?

Starting from 2020, the Federal Labour & Employment Service has been automatically checking compliance with the requirement to conduct a special evaluation of working conditions, based on the data available in the information system. The Federal Labour & Employment Service compares the data in the information system, with the existing databases of the tax authorities and the Russian Pension Fund. The comparison allows it to identify organisations which have not conducted a special evaluation of working conditions. 

The law does not provide for employers to be notified of these supervisory measures which are carried out without interaction with the employer. Based on the results of the check, an act is drawn up, but if no violations are revealed, it is not disclosed to the employer. This means that if an organisation has conducted a special evaluation and the information in all the above-mentioned sources is consistent, the employer may not even know that it has been checked.  

Organisations, which have not conducted a special evaluation of working conditions will receive a warning against violating the law. These companies must conduct a special evaluation within six months. However, if a violation is revealed through scheduled and unscheduled inspections (rather than through an automated check), the company will be penalised. 

Liability

Violations relating to conducting a special evaluation of working conditions (e.g. not conducting one, or nor having the documents confirming the evaluation) may result in liability, in the form of administrative fines, as follows: 

  • up to RUB 80,000 for the employer (as a legal entity) and up to RUB 10,000 for its officials (e.g. the general director) for failing to conduct (or improperly conducting) the special evaluation of working conditions; 
  • up to RUB 100,000 for the employer (as a legal entity) and up to RUB 20,000 for its officials for each violation for failure to include the results of the special evaluation in employees’ employment contracts.