Electronic Labour Books

The first personal documents required for employment appeared in France in 1749. They were introduced to combat vagrancy. As this practice was successful, a new document was introduced all over the country in 1781. It was called the "labour book.
"In Russia, during the reign of Peter the Great, the first formal lists with information about employees began to appear. These documents reflected the status of an official or officer, but they were rarely used. Gradually, the state began to control the activities of its officials to learn more about the quality of their work. And from 1764, the formal lists became mandatory. They existed until 1917. The workers of factories in the Russian Empire eventually had special books, which included information about qualifications and work activities.

In the USSR, the labour book was an ideological tool. Such books replaced the identity card and proved the citizens' participation in industrial activities. In 1923, the books were abolished and again replaced by identity cards. On December 20, 1938, the USSR issued a decree "On the introduction of labour books." Almost in the form we know the system of workbooks now, it appeared in 1939. The goal was to fix the employee in one workplace and put moral pressure: if youwork well — there will be records of incentives and awards in the book, if you work badly, there willbe a record of dismissal and, as a result, great difficulties in the further employment.

Nowadays, every working citizen has a labour book in Russia.

A labour book is the main document about an employee’s work activity. Therefore, it is very important that the company properly organizes work with labour books — from the purchase of blank forms to the issuance of a document to a retired employee.

The labour book chronologically reflects the entire work biography of a person, his professional andcareer growth, attitude to work, reasons for dismissal. In addition, this is the main document for calculating the employment and insurance experience of a person.
  • A labour book is a mandatory personnel document. It is directly provided for by the Labour Code of the Russian Federation. An employee must provide it at the conclusion of an employment contract (Article 65 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation).
  • A labour book is essentially a form of strict reporting, so its design and all records must be kept in full compliance with the Labour Code of the Russian Federation. As a rule, it is issued at the very beginning of the work experience — at the first employment.

The employer makes an entry on the fifth day of the person’s work. The employer fills out the labour book and indicates the positions, qualifications, length of service, and incentives in it.

If a new employee is accepted as a part-time employee, an entry in the employment record book is made by the accounting department at the main place of work. At the request of the person, you can enter data on a part-time job.

A labour book is a personal document of an employee. However, it should be stored by the personnel department of the company where the person works.

According to the law, the employer is obliged to issue a labour book to the retiring employee on the last day of work. In order to get it, an employee must not write any applications, but after this document is issued to him, he must sign in the internal journal of the movement of labour books.

Next, the personnel specialist makes a corresponding entry in the employee’s personal card, and it isalso certified by his sign. If the employee who has left for some reason can not get a labour book, he can send his representative for it. However, the representative must provide a power of attorney certified by a notary.

Another option is to ask the employer to send a labour book by registered mail with an inventory and a notification of delivery via the Russian post at the actual place of residence.
According to the law, labour books must be stored in the employer’s safe. The employer is also responsible for their availability, content, and safety. There are no legal grounds for the temporary issuance of a labour book to an employee by personnel specialists. Therefore, if an employee for some reason still needs a labour book, he can apply in a written form for the issuance of a certified copy of it.
In those rare situations when the original is needed, you can ask to issue it in a written form with the mandatory indication of the reason, the date, and the signature.

Violations in the management, storage, and accounting of workbooks entail fines:
  • for the officials (the head, HR manager, or individual entrepreneur) — 1000−5000 rubles;
  • for the organization — 30,000−50,000 rubles;
In case of repeated violation: the official will pay a fine of up to 20,000 rubles; the legal entity — up to 70,000 rubles.

On January 1, 2021, a draft law on the introduction of electronic labour books began to take effect.

The electronic labour book does not assume a physical paper book and will be implemented only in digital format. You can view the details of the e-book:
  • in your personal account on the Pension Fund’s website;
  • on the Public Services portal;
  • through the relevant smartphone apps.

If necessary, the information of the electronic labour books will be provided in the form of a paper statement. It can be provided by:
  • a current or former employer;- Pension Fund;
  • multifunctional center for the provision of public services.

It is assumed that this service will be provided extraterritorially, without reference to the person’s residence or work. Other positive aspects of the transition to electronic workbooks are also noted:
  • convenient and quick access of employees to information about their work activities;
  • minimization of errors, inaccurate and unreliable information about employment;
  • additional opportunities for remote employment;
  • reducing the costs of employers for the purchase, maintenance, and storage of paper labour books;
  • remote registration of pensions according to the personal account data without additional documentary confirmation;
  • use of electronic work experience data for obtaining public services;
  • new opportunities for analytical processing of labour activity data for employers and government agencies;
  • high level of security and data security

The formation of electronic labour books in Russia began in 2020. The transition to the new format is voluntary for all working citizens and will be carried out only with the person’s consent.
The exception will be those who first get a job in 2021. For these people, all information about the periods of work will initially be kept only in electronic form without a paper labour book.

If an employee wants to keep his paper labour book, the employer has no right to refuse him. To do this, the employee will have to submit a written application to the employer by the end of 2020. In this case, from 2021, the paper labour book will continue to be maintained simultaneously with the electronic one.

Russians who do not submit such an application to an employer by the end of 2020 will have their labour books maintained only in digital format starting from 2021.
Do you need an expert advice?
Ask questions and make an appointment by phone
or order call our expert

Other articles "Employment and Migration in Russia"

We work with clients from countries

Our advantages

Ranking of companies by HR records management in Russia 2021
Ranking of companies by payroll in Russia 2021
Ranking of outsourcing service providers in Russia 2021
Ranking of the largest consulting companies in Russia 2021


Ranking of companies by HR records management in Russia 2021
Ranking of companies by payroll in Russia 2021
Ranking of outsourcing service providers in Russia 2021
Ranking of the largest consulting companies in Russia 2021
*According to

Our team

  • Tatiana Shkarupeta
    CEO, founder
  • Elena Smirnova
    CEO Deputy
  • Zhanna Shushmanova
    Head of HR-administration services division
  • Ivan Masley
    Head of Corporate Legal Services
  • Marina Milenkova
    Chief accountant-expert
  • Anna Volkova
    Chief accountant-expert
  • Elena Isaeva
    Head of payroll division
  • Olga Zalkina
    Chief Payroll Accountant-expert
  • Irina Bogreeva
    Chief Payroll Accountant-expert
  • Elena Merts
    Chief payrol accountant-expert
  • Elena Pavlova
    Senior Accountant-expert
  • Julia Vernikovskaya
    Senior Accountant
  • Alisa Pulver
    Senior Accountant
  • Alyona Alekseeva
    Senior Accountant
  • Natalia Evdokimova
    Senior Accountant
  • Lyudmila Kulikova
  • Lyudmila Korotkikh
  • Irina Kirillova
  • Marina Kuzmina
  • Olga Dontsova
  • Natalia Armashova
    HR Specialist
  • Nadezhda Zametashkina
    Senior office manager
  • Svetlana Putilova
    Client Manager