Transfer of employees to remote work in accordance with labor legislation

Mar, 24 2020

During the declared COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most important tasks for a business executive is a transfer of employees to remote work. In this regard, the issue of finding a best way to organize this transfer without violating the provisions of the labor law arises.

In most cases, an employment contract on remote work is concluded with the employee when he enters an employment relationship with the employer. Despite this, there is an opportunity to transfer a staff member who is already employed to remote work.

The procedure of organization’s employee to remote work is regulated by the provisions of Chapter 49.1 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation. In accordance with article 312.1 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, remote work means work outside the employer’s location, provided that public information and telecommunication networks, including the Internet, are used to perform this labor function.

The most appropriate and favorable is the transfer to remote work, which is initiated by the employee of the organization. Otherwise, the transfer of the employee by the will of the employer may lead to adverse consequences, including litigation due to labor law violation regarding changes to the contract’s terms defined by the parties. In this regard, we will focus on the option when the employee wishes to move to remote work by himself.

In order to pass lawfully an employee’s transfer of to remote work, it is required to conclude an additional agreement amending the employment contract. However, first of all, the employee should apply with a request for transfer to remote work to the employer and indicate good reasons for such a transfer. After this application is approved by the employer, the parties to the employment relationship may enter into an additional agreement to the employment contract, which indicates the conditions of the remote work, as well as its terms.Moreover, it seems appropriate to reflect in the text of an additional agreement that the employee is transferred to remote work precisely in connection with the threat of the spread of a new coronavirus infection in Russia and for protection of his health and the health of other employees.

Thus, due to the introduction of high-alert mode based on the threat of coronavirus infection spread in most regions of Russia (for example, in Moscow, the Decree of the Mayor of 05.03.2020 No. 12-UM «On the introduction of the high-alert mode» was adopted), the most appropriate is transferring an employee to remote work in order to ensure his security and successful performance of his labor function.

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