The State Duma accepted amendments on remote work in the first reading

According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in 2019, only 30 thousand people worked remotely on an official basis out of 67.1 million people employed. Lawmakers decided to change this situation. According to the Ministry of Labour, 6 million Russians switched to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the legislation does not sufficiently regulate this area, although the Labour Code contains an article on remote employment.

The proposed bill contains rules concerning working hours and recreation for remote employees (in particular, the «right to be offline»). In addition, it regulates the types of remote employment, as well as the procedure of interaction between the employee and the employer.

Such ways of operation as temporary remote work and combined remote work are introduced.

The bill guarantees that wages for temporary remote work are paid, while the amount of work specified in the employment contract is maintained. It is proposed to transfer pregnant women, employees with children under the age of 14, disabled people, pensioners and a number of other categories to temporary remote work as a priority (if possible).

The bill also introduces such a concept as the inviolability of an employee’s personal time and the right to be offline.

It is also planned to introduce the concept of «interaction schedule», which will determine when the employee must stay in touch with the employer. Another period is regarded as the employee’s time, which is inviolable.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers decided to distinguish the concepts of remote and distance work by the second reading. So, remote work is similar to the mode and schedule of work in the office. And distance work is freelance, which involves a simplified approach.

By the second reading, one more requirement for the remote workers may be introduced — the need to notify the employer of the worker’s location.

The government supported the amendments but recommended prescribing the consequences of an employee’s refusal to be transferred to temporary remote work.

The final document is planned to be adopted by the end of the year to come into force on January 1.