- Non-working days have been extended through to April 30, 2020.
- The list of organizations which must continue operating during this period has been extended.
- The Governmental Commission on Ensuring the Sustainability of the Russian Economy has also extended the list of "systematically important organizations" all of which may continue operations.
- The Mayor of Moscow has also introduced further measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
On April 2, 2020, President Putin issued an order (Order “On Measures to Ensure Sanitary and Epidemiological Safety of the Population”) which extended the period of non-working days until April 30, 2020 in an effort to combat the spread of Coronavirus (the Presidential Order).1 The Presidential Order also grants power to regional authorities to determine which organizations are exempt from the Presidential Order based on the health situation in a particular region.
Additional restrictions in Moscow
On April 4, 2020, the Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, in turn issued an order clarifying those organizations in the City of Moscow which should remain closed to stem the spread of COVID-19. This order includes gyms, spas and cinemas, etc. (Order No. 39-УМ “On Amendments to the Order, dated March 5, 2020, No. 12-УМ”, dated April 4, 2020) (the “Mayor’s Order”).2
Organizations that are not included in the Mayor’s Order, the Presidential Order or other legislative acts are still allowed to continue their operations. Those organizations, which are not subject to the Mayor’s Order, and are continuing to operate in Moscow, must do the following:
1) Ensure their compliance with sanitary measures set forth in the Mayor’s Order, i.e.:
- measure the temperature of employees and suspend from work those who have a fever;
- provide authorities with information about any contact any infected employee may have had with other people;
- disinfect premises visited by any infected employees;
- either provide employees who follow the self-isolation regime with paid vacation days or ensure they can work remotely
2) Adopt a decision on the number of employees (including persons working on civil law contracts) who:
- work at their workplaces (i.e. who cannot work remotely due to the needs of the organization);
- work remotely;
- are not at work and are subject to the paid non-working day regime;
3) Notify the Moscow authorities with respect to the foregoing by completing a form (Annex 3 of the Mayor’s Order) and submitting it to: email@example.com.
The aforementioned obligations apply to all organizations located in Moscow which continue to operate during the non-working days, regardless of their activities. Although the Mayor’s Order does not provide a specific time by which organizations must comply with the Mayor’s Order, it is advisable to do so as soon as possible to reduce the risk of any potential liability being imposed on an organization or an organization’s officers.
Additional federal exemptions announced
Furthermore, the Presidential Order has extended the list of organizations exempt from the non-working day regime set out in the original Presidential Order (“On Declaring Non-Working Days in the Russian Federation”), dated March 25, 2020.3 In particular, organizations which provide urgent financial services (primarily settlement and payment services) are exempt from the regime of non-working days and therefore, must continue operations. Based on clarifications from the Central Bank of Russia, dated April 3, 2020,4 such organizations include:
- organizations undertaking payment of pensions and management of pension savings (non-state pension funds, etc.);
- unit investment funds carrying out transactions with property and investment units of investment funds;
- certain insurance companies (e.g. performing compulsory and voluntary medical insurance agreements);
- organizations which are part of the stock exchange infrastructure (stock exchanges, clearing organizations, depositories and professional participants of securities market, ensuring access to and continued operation of on-exchange trading and guaranteeing payments at the close of trading).
Additionally, according to Article 5 of the Presidential Order, “systematically important organizations” may also be exempt, subject to agreement with the Russian Government.
What are “systematically important organizations”?
Systematically important organizations are specific organizations which are included in a list compiled by the Governmental Commission on Ensuring the Sustainability of the Russian Economy (this list has not been officially published).
On March 20, 2020, the list of “systematically important organizations” was updated to include more than 600 organizations from various industries. These industries include:
- oil and gas;
- electricity supply;
- agricultural production
What steps should non-exempt organizations take?
Employees of organizations who do not fall under any of the above exceptions (including those listed in the Mayor’s Order, the Presidential Order, those included in the clarifications from the Russian Government and Ministry of Labor discussed in our recent OnPoints here) may continue working during the regime of non-working days, as long as their employees work remotely. This was clarified by the Recommendations issued by the Ministry of Labor, dated March 26, 2020 and amended on March 27, 2020.5
Any documents (amendments to employment agreements, etc.) related to remote work should be signed by both the employee and the employer. In this instance, they can be “signed” by email exchange, without having to sign a physical document.