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COVID-19: Moscow Steps Up Workplace Restrictions, Introduces Reporting Requirements as Infection Rises

October 08, 2020

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Vladimir Putin authorized the heads of Russian regions to determine the lockdown rules depending on the epidemiological situation in a particular territory. In this alert we address the most recent restrictions introduced by the Mayor of Moscow, including new reporting requirements.

Mayor of Moscow Decrees

The Mayor of Moscow announced on 8 June the softening of the lockdown measures and the timetable for reopening businesses. The employers were allowed to resume "in-office" work regime subject to compliance with applicable reopening requirements, including wearing masks and gloves if in-office (for further details please read our previous LawFlash).

Unfortunately, the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 has significantly increased in Moscow recently. On October 1, the Moscow Mayor issued a decree ordering Moscow-based organizations to transfer certain employees to the remote work regime (1 October Decree). On 6 October, the Moscow Mayor issued another decree introducing certain reporting requirements and ordering further restrictions (6 October Decree).

Back to Remote Work Regime

According to the 1 October Decree, from 5 October to 28 October, all employers operating in Moscow must transfer to remote working:

  • at least 30% of all employees; and
  • all employees over 65 years of age or suffering from certain chronic diseases determined by Moscow Health Department. (The only exception from this rule is made for employees whose presence in the workplace is critical to the functioning of the organization.)


According to the 1 October Decree, the above requirement applies to all organizations save for certain limited exceptions such as organizations engaged in the defense industry and aircraft construction, healthcare organizations, and certain other organizations determined by the Moscow authorities.

Reporting Requirements

The 1 October Decree reintroduced reporting requirements which were in place during the mandatory downtime in Russia and in Moscow this spring. In particular, the Moscow organizations must start again reporting to the Moscow authorities on the number of employees (without personal data) who are transferred to the remote work regime; and on the number of employees who are allowed to continue to work in the office.

The 6 October Decree introduced additional reporting requirement, as follows.

Effective 12 October (and thereafter each Monday) and until 28 October Moscow organizations must also provide to the Moscow authorities the following details of each employee working remotely:

  • a license plate number of her or his private vehicle (if any)
  • mobile phone number
  • public transportation electronic cards numbers (if any)
  • social card number (if any)

Notably, the 1 October Decree and the 6 October Decree do not require the organizations to disclose the names of remotely-working employees. Nevertheless, in order to collect the above data for its further transfer to the Moscow government, an employer must comply with the procedures provided by the Federal Law “On Personal Data,” including obtaining employees’ consents, where necessary.

Travel Restrictions

The 6 October Decree also introduced certain restrictions of free travel for (a) schoolchildren, from 9 October to 18 October; and (b) people of over 65 years of age or suffering from certain chronic diseases, from 9 October and until 28 October.

Liability

Depending upon particular circumstances, violations of the above decrees may entail quite significant penalties for employers. They include fines of up to 1 million rubles, suspension of activity for up to 90 days, and disqualification (prohibition to hold managerial positions) on its officers.

Employers must be mindful that any changes to employees’ work regime require compliance with the Russian Labor Code. In general, an employee cannot be transferred to the remote work regime without her or his consent. Violation of the Labor Code may also entail fines and other negative consequences.

Enforcement

Importantly, the Moscow authorities have started to reinforce the restrictions. Reportedly, several organizations have already been inspected and fined. For more information please see here and here. Employers must take all measures to comply with the existing and newly introduced restrictions.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Task Force

For our clients, we have formed a multidisciplinary Coronavirus COVID-19 Task Force to help guide you through the broad scope of legal issues brought on by this public health challenge. Find resources on how to cope with the post-pandemic reality on our NOW. NORMAL. NEXT. page and our COVID-19 page to help keep you on top of developments as they unfold. If you would like to receive a daily digest of all new updates to the page, please subscribe now to receive our COVID-19 alerts, and download our biweekly COVID-19 Legal Issue Compendium.

CONTACTS

We hope that you find this LawFlash useful. If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact the following Moscow-based lawyers: Bela Pelman, Vasilisa Strizh, Ksenia Andreeva, Anastasia Dergacheva and Dmitry Dmitriev.