National Labour Law Profile: Russian Federation

Contributed by Vladislav Egorov. Last update, January 2002.

Constitutional framework

The current Constitution of the Russian Federation (hereafter “the CRF”) came into force on 12 December 1993, following its approval by nationwide referendum. It declares,inter alia, that the Russian Federation is a democratic, federal, multi-ethnic republic, based on the rule of law (Article 1). State power is divided between three separate but equal branches of government - the legislature, the executive and the judiciary (Article 10).

According to Article 65 of the CRF, the Russian Federation is a federal State consisting of 21 autonomous republics and 68 autonomous territories and regions, including two federal cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg (89 constituents).

The President of the Russian Federation, who is Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is elected to a term of four years by the citizens of the Russian Federation on the basis of general, equal and direct vote by secret ballot. The President may only be reelected to two consecutive terms (Article 81 of the CRF).

Supreme legislative power is vested in the bicameral Federal Assembly, which consists of two chambers - the Council of the Federation and the State Duma (Article 95 of the CRF). The Council of the Federation (178 seats) is filled by the appointed representatives from each of the 89 federal constituents. The members serve four-year terms. The State Duma consists of 450 deputies who are elected to four-year terms. Half of the seats in the State Duma are elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 5% of the vote. The other half is elected from single member constituencies by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms.

For a law to be adopted, it has to be approved by the State Duma. It is then submitted to the Council of the Federation. If the latter rejects the bill, a conciliatory commission is created to overcome the contradictions. The President may also reject the bill. His/her veto can, however, be overturned by a two thirds majority of the total membership of the Council of the Federation and the State Duma (Article 107 of the CRF).

The CRF explicitly defines the exclusive federal jurisdiction (Article 71 of the CRF). It also spells out the joint jurisdiction of the Federation and its constituents (Article 72 of the CRF). This joint jurisdiction also covers labour legislation (Article 72 (j) of the CRF). Outside of the exclusive jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and its constituents, the latter exercise the entire spectrum of state power (Article 73 of the CRF).

Executive power in the Russian Federation is vested in the Government of the Russian Federation which consists of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairmen of the Government and federal ministers (Article 110 of the CRF). The Chairman of the Federal government is appointed by the President with the consent of the State Duma. If the State Duma on three occassions rejects candidates proposed by the President, the President appoints a Chairman of the Government, dissolves the State Duma and calls a new election (Article 111 of the CRF).

The basic rights and liberties in conformity with the commonly recognized principles and norms of international law are recognized and guaranteed in the Russian Federation and by the Constitution. The basic rights and liberties of the human being shall be inalienable and shall belong to everyone from birth. The exercise of rights and liberties of a human being and citizen may not violate the rights and liberties of other persons (Article 17 of the CRF). The rights and liberties of human being and of the citizen shall have direct effect. They shall determine the meaning, content and application of the laws, and the activities of the legislative and executive branches and local self-government, and shall be secured by the judiciary (Article 18 of the CRF). All people shall be equal before the law and in the court of law. The state shall guarantee the equality of rights and liberties regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property or employment status, residence, attitude to religion, convictions, membership of public associations or any other circumstance. Any restrictions of the rights of citizens on social, racial, national, linguistic or religious grounds shall be forbidden. Man and woman shall have equal rights and liberties and equal opportunities for their implementation (Article 19 of the CRF).

According to Article 118 of the CRF, justice in the Russian Federation is administered only by courts of law. All trials in all courts of law have to be open and conducted on an adversarial and equal basis. (Article 123 of the CRF). Courts of law are financed only out of the federal budget and financing shall ensure full and independent administration of justice in accordance with federal law (Article 124 of the CRF).

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, which consists of 19 judges, is empowered with the right of constitutional review: a) federal laws, normative acts of the President of the Russian Federation, the Federation Council, State Duma and the Government of the Russian Federation; b) republican constitutions, charters, as well as laws and other normative acts of subjects of the Russian Federation published on issues pertaining to the jurisdiction of bodies of state power of the Russian Federation and joint jurisdiction of bodies of state power of the Russian Federation and bodies of state power of subjects of the Russian Federation; c) agreements between bodies of state power of the Russian Federation and bodies of state power of subjects of the Russian Federation, agreements between bodies of state power of subjects of the Russian Federation; d) international agreements of the Russian Federation that have not entered into force. It also resolves disputes over jurisdiction: a) between the federal state bodies; b) between state bodies of the Russian Federation and state bodies of the subjects of the Russian Federation; c) between supreme state bodies of subjects of the Russian Federation.

Complaints about violation of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens can also be subject to constitutional review by the Constitutional Court of the Russian (Article 125 of the CRF).

Labour rights in the Constitution

According to Article 7 of the CRF, the Russian Federation is a social state, whose policies shall be aimed at creating conditions, which ensure a dignified life and the free development of man. It shall protect the work and health of its people, establish a guaranteed minimum wage, provide state support for family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood, and also for the disabled and for elderly citizens, develop a system of social services and establish government pensions, benefits and other social security guarantees.

Article 37 of the CRF enumerates basic labour rights, including free choice of type of activity and profession, prohibition of forced labour, working conditions which meet safety and hygiene requirements, remuneration without any discrimination, minimum wage established by federal law, protection against unemployment, right to individual and collective labour disputes, right to strike, guaranteed statutory duration of work time, days off and holidays, and paid annual vacation. Article 30 of the CRF envisages that everyone shall have the right to association, including the right to create trade unions in order to protect one's interests.

According to Article 55 of the CRF, the listing of the basic rights and liberties in the CRF shall not be interpreted as the denial or belittlement of the other commonly recognized human and citizens' rights and liberties. No laws denying or belittling human and civil rights and liberties may be issued in the Russian Federation. Human and civil rights and liberties may be restricted by the federal law only to the extent required for the protection of the fundamentals of the constitutional system, morality, health, rights and lawful interests of other persons, for ensuring the defense of the country and the security of the state.

Labour legislation

From its structural point of view, the system of labour legislation in the Russian Federation can be characterized as “codified-plus”. Alongside the Labour Code which brings together in a systematic manner a significant number of statutory provisions concerning both the individual employment relationship and industrial relations, there are some other pieces of labour legislation which supplement and further develop the provisions contained in the Labour Code.

Labour Code

The history of Labour Codes in Russia goes back to the Labour Codes of 1918, 1922 and 1971. The later had been introduced on the basis of the USSR Fundamentals of Labour Legislation dated 15 July 1970, which had been created as a legislative framework for the entire Soviet Union. The current Labour Code of the Russian Federation of 30 December 2001 (hereafter “the LC”) is in force from 1 February 2002. It consists of 6 parts, 62 chapters and 422 articles which deal,inter alia, with the following major labour law issues:

  • fundamentals of labour legislation (purposes of labour legislation; basic principles of regulation; non-discrimination; prohibition of forced labour; the system of labour legislation);
  • the respective competencies in labour law making of the Russian Federation and of its constituents;
  • labour relations, their parties and grounds for establishment, including employee’s and employer’s basic rights and responsibilities;
  • social partnership, including tripartite co-operation, collective bargaining and workers’ participation;
  • contract of employment;
  • protection of workers' personal data;
  • conditions of work, including work time; rest time, including leave; remuneration;
  • labour discipline;
  • health and safety;
  • women’s labour, including maternity protection;
  • youth (under 18 years of age) labour;
  • seasonal work, home work, domestic work, etc.;
  • work in a number of specific sectors, including education and transportation;
  • protection of workers’ rights by the trade unions;
  • labour disputes settlement.

Other Labour Law enactments

The following separate pieces of legislation (in their chronological order) supplemented or further developed provisions of the LC:

  • The Employment of Population Act, of 1991 in its edition of 20.04.96 (last amended on 7 August 2000);
  • The Collective Agreements and Accords Act, 1992 (last amended on 1 May 1999);
  • The Settlement of Collective Labour Disputes Act, 1995 (last amended on 6 November 2001);
  • The Trade Union Act, 1996;
  • The Russian Tripartite Commission for Regulation of the Socio-Labour Relations Act, 1999;
  • The Russian Tripartite Commission on Regulation of Socio-Labour Relations Act, 1 May 1999;
  • The Fundamentals of Health and Safety Act, 1999;
  • The Compulsory Social Insurance Against Occupational Accidents and Diseases Act, 1998 (last amended on 25 October 2001);
  • The Insolvency (Bankruptcy) Act, 1997;
  • The Minimum Wages Act, 2000;
  • The Fundamentals of Public Service Act, 1995 (last amended on 7 November 2000).

According to Article 422 of the LC, all other pieces of labour legislation have to be put in compliance with the LC.

Other sources of Labour Law

According to Article 90 of the CRF, the President of the Russian Federation issues decrees and executive orders, which are binding throughout the territory of the Russian Federation and may not contravene the CRF or federal laws. Such orders and decrees represent an important source of labour law in the Russian Federation.

Another important source of labour law in the Russian Federation is decrees and orders issued by the Government of the Russian Federation on the basis of and pursuant to the CRF, federal laws and normative decrees of the President of the Russian Federation. Should such decrees and orders contravene the CRF, federal laws and the decrees of the President of the Russian Federation, they may be repealed by the President of the Russian Federation (Article 115 of the CRF).

A further source of labour law in the Russian Federation is normative documents issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development with a view to implementing labour legislation in force in the Russian Federation. A number of other federal executive bodies are also empowered to issue normative acts within the powers given to them by federal legislation, decrees and orders of the President or of the Government of the Russian Federation.

Since, according to Article 72 (j) of the CRF, labour legislation falls within the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and its constituents, the constituent level labour law regulation seems also to be a very important source. While listing matters falling within the exclusive federal jurisdiction, Article 6 of the LC empowers the constituents of the Russian Federation to legislation on any other matter that goes beyond this exclusive jurisdiction. In this case, a higher level of workers’ rights and social guarantees (as compared with what has been established by federal laws) resulting in an increase of budget expenses or in a decrease of budget revenues has to be ensured at the expense of the budget of a respective constituent. The constituents of the Russian Federation can also legislate on matters that have not been regulated at the federal level. Upon the adoption of the federal level legislation on the same matter(s), the respective constituent level legislation has to be brought in compliance with the federal legislation. Should the constituent level labour law regulation contradict the LC and any other federal level regulation or diminish the level of workers’ rights and social guarantees ensured at the federal level, the provisions of the LC or other federal level regulation supercede the respective constituent regulation (Article 6 of the LC).

Labour regulations of local (municipal) self-governing bodies issued within their competencies are also considered as a labour law source in the Russian Federation. Such regulations shall not contradict the LC and other federal and constituent level labour laws (Article 5 of the LC).

Bipartite or tripartite agreements at national, industry, regional or territorial level as well as enterprise level collective agreements also play an important role in labour regulation. National level «general accords» were introduced by the Presidential Decree on Social Partnership and Disputes Settlement of 15 November 1991 as a new instrument of labour policy. They are concluded on a tripartite and yearly basis between the Federal Government and the most representative organizations of employers and workers with a view to outlining the duties of the parties involved in such areas as employment, welfare levels, wage levels, etc. Together with one national general accord, 61 federal industry level accords, 77 regional level accords, 2293 regional industry level accords accords and 161,700 enterprise level collective agreements were concluded in the Russian Federation in 2000 (See national weekly Economika i Jizn, March 2001 (No. 9)).

Case law has traditionally played a role in labour regulation in the Russian Federation. Constitutional reviews issued by the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and interpretation of labour law provisions given by the superior judicial bodies are not only binding on all lower judicial bodies in the country, but also play an important role in the process of labour law revision. Such reviews and interpretations assist the legislature to better understand where and how to adjust the existing system of labour regulation to make it more responsive to the newly emerging economic and social concerns and thus more applicable.

International law is also considered as a source of labour law in the Russian Federation. According to Article 15(4) of the CRF, the commonly recognized principles and norms of international law and international treaties signed by the Russian Federation constitute an integral part of its legal system. If an international treaty signed by the Russian Federation stipulates other rules than those stipulated by the labour law regulations of the Russian Federation, the rules of the international treaty apply (Article 10 of the CRF).

The scope of Labour Law

According to Article 11 of the LC, the labour law regulations in the Russian Federation are applicable to all workers who have entered into employment relationships with employers. The application of the LC and other labour laws and regulations is mandatory in the entire territory of the Russian Federation for all enterprises (legal and physical entities) irrespective of their legal status and form of ownership.

In the cases when it is established by a court of law that a civil law contract in fact regulates an employment relationship, provisions of labour law are applicable.

The labour law regulations in the Russian Federation are also applicable to employment relationships with foreigners and persons without citizenship, unless otherwise is provided by a federal law or an international treaty of the Russian Federation.

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Contract of Employment

Article 56 of the LC defines “contract of employment” as an agreement between an employer and employee, according to which the employer undertakes:

  • to provide the employee with the assigned work;
  • to ensure conditions of work envisaged by labour law regulations or contained in collective agreements and agreed upon in the contract of employment; and
  • to pay employees' wages timely and in full;

and the employee undertakes:

  • to perform personally the assigned work; and
  • to follow the work rules existing at the enterprise.

Duration and form of contract of employment

According to Article 58 of the LC, contracts of employment can be concluded either without limit of time or for a specified period of time (hereafter “fixed-term contracts of employment”). If a contract of employment contains no provision on its validity period, this contract is deemed to be executed for an indefinite time period.

Fixed-term contracts of employment are concluded when an employment relationship may not be established for an indefinite duration due to the character of the anticipated work (e.g. seasonal work) or the conditions of its performance, unless otherwise envisaged by law. If none of the parties demands the termination of a fixed-term contract of employment due to its expiration and the employee continues to perform the same work, this contract of employment is deemed to be executed without limit of time.

Article 59 of the LC (i) limits the use of fixed-term contracts to the reasons specifically provided for in federal legislation and (ii) gives a non-exhaustive list of such reasons.

A fixed-term contract of employment concluded in the absence of satisfying reasons to do so is deemed to be executed without limit of time. It is also prohibited to conclude fixed-term contracts of employment with the aim of unwillingness to grant rights and guarantees envisaged by law for the employees being a party to a contract of employment concluded without limit of time (Article 58 of the LC).

All contracts of employment are required to be in writing (Article 67 of the RFLC).


On the conclusion of a contract of employment, probation may be stipulated by agreement of the parties for the purpose of verifying the conformity of the worker to the work entrusted to him or her. The condition for probation has to be spelled out in the contract of employment. Its absence in the contract of employment means that the worker concerned is employed without any probation. During the probation, all provisions of labour law regulations and respective collective agreements apply to the worker concerned. Probation does not apply to persons admitted to work through:

  • competition;
  • election;
  • transfer from another enterprise; and
  • in other cases envisaged in the LC, other federal laws and collective agreements.

The probation period shall not exceed three months. Probation for the executive staff of enterprises should not exceed six months, unless otherwise provided for by the federal legislation.

The probation period does not include the worker’s absence due to his or her temporary incapacity to work or any other period(s) during which the worker was in fact absent from work (Article 70 of the LC).

If the results of probation prove to be unsatisfactory, the employer is entitled to terminate the contract of employment before the probation period has elapsed with a three-day written notice explaining the reasons which have served as grounds for qualifying the worker as having failed to pass the probation. The worker concerned is entitled to appeal against the decision of the employer in the court of law. If the results of probation are unsatisfactory, the contract of employment is terminated without consultation with appropriate trade union’s body and without payment of severance pay. If the employer makes no decision on the termination of the labour contract before the probation period has elapsed, the worker concerned is considered as having passed the probation and his or her employment relationship can be subject to termination on the usual terms applicable to contracts of employment.

The worker concerned is empowered to terminate probation at his her initiative any time with a three-day written notice (Article 71 of the LC).

According to Article 23 of the Public Service Act, 1995, probation in the public service may be extended to six months.

Discontinuation of contract of employment

Article 77 of the LC lists the following grounds for discontinuation of a contract of employment:

  • mutual agreement of the parties (Article 78 of the LC);
  • expiration of a fixed-term contract, except for instances when the employment relationship continues de facto and neither of the parties has demanded its termination (Article 58(2) of the LC);
  • termination of the contract of employment at the initiative of the worker (Article 80 of the LC);
  • termination of the contract of employment at the initiative of the employer (Article 81 of the LC);
  • transfer of a worker, with his or her consent, to another enterprise or to an elective post;
  • refusal of a worker to continue work because of the change of the employer (Article 75 of the LC);
  • refusal of a worker to continue work because of the change(s) of essential conditions of work (Article 73 of the LC);
  • refusal of a worker to transfer to another work because of illness (Article 72 of the LC);
  • refusal of a worker to transfer because of the employer’s moving to another locality (Article 72 of the LC);
  • circumstances outside the parties’ will, such as conscription into military service; reinstatement of the worker who previously performed given work; failure to be (re)elected to a position to be filled through election; imprisonment; complete disability due to illness; death; other major circumstances (Article 83 of the LC);
  • infringement of labour law rules concerning the conclusion of a contract of employment, should this infringement exclude the possibility of continuation of work.

A fixed term contract of employment is terminated on its expiration (Article 79 of the LC).

Termination at the initiative of the worker. A contract of employment can be terminated by a worker any time with a two-week written notice. Upon the parties’ agreement, such termination may take place before the two weeks have passed (Article 80 of the LC).

Termination at the initiative of the employer. Article 81 of the LC provides for the exhaustive list of the following grounds upon which contract of employment can be terminated at the initiative of the employer:

  • liquidation of the enterprise;
  • staff reduction;
  • unfitness of the worker for the assigned work due to:
  • state of health which prevent continuation of this work; or
  • insufficient skills;
  • change of the owner of the enterprise (applies to its top executives and the chief accountant);
  • repeated failure on the workers's part to fulfill work duties without any valid reason whatsoever, after disciplinary sanction has been applied;
  • single grave breach by the worker of his or her of work duties:
  • truancy (absence from work of more than three hours during the working day) without justifiable reasons;
  • reporting to work in a state of alcoholic, narcotic or other form of intoxication;
  • disclosure of state, official, corporate, commercial and other kinds of confidential information that has become known to the work as a result of fulfilling his of her work duties;
  • theft, squandering or deliberate destruction of property at workplace;
  • breach of heath and safety requirements, if it has had grave consequences;
  • illegal action(s) of the worker to whom pecuniary or material values were entrusted by the employer, if these actions create mistrust of the worker on the employer’s part;
  • immoral offences committed by the worker performing educational duties which are incompatible with the continuation of such work;
  • making groundless decisions by the top executives or chief accountant of the enterprise resulting in property damages;
  • single grave breach by the top executives of the enterprise of their work duties;
  • deliberate submitting in the course of hiring by the worker of falls documents or information;
  • termination of the access to state secrets, if this access is required by the assigned work;
  • other grounds set forth in the contract of employment with the top executives of the enterprise;
  • in other cases envisaged in the LC or other federal laws.

Termination on the grounds specified under (2) and (3) are permitted only if it is impossible to transfer the worker, with his or her consent, to other work. Termination is not permitted during worker’s absence on sick or annual leave.

A contract of employment with the union representative(s) that may be terminated on the grounds contained in paragraphs(2-b), (3) and (5) of Article 81 of the LC is not permitted without the consent of the respective trade union (Articles 374 and 376 of the LC).

Severance allowance.When a contract of employment is terminated due to liquidation of the enterprise or reduction of personnel (Article 81(1)(2) of the LC), the worker concerned is entitled to severance pay equal to his or her average monthly salary. In the case of liquidation, the worker concerned retains his or her average monthly salary for the duration of his or her job search, but no longer than two months as of the date of termination (severance allowance inclusive), and as an exception during the third month upon the decision of the employment service, provided that the worker made an application within two weeks after termination and no job was found for him or her.

Two-week severance pay is paid to the workers whose contracts of employment are terminated on the grounds specified in Article 81(3-a) and Article 83(1)(2) of the LC.

A contract of employment or a collective agreement contract may provide for other cases of payment of severance pay, as well as its increased amounts (Article 178 of the LC).

Hours of Work

According to Article 91 of the LC, the normal duration of the work time may not exceed 40 hours per week.

The normal working hours shall be reduced by:

  • 16 hours per week for workers under sixteen years of age;
  • 5 hours per week for workers qualified as invalids of categories I and II;
  • 4 hours per week for workers from sixteen to eighteen years of age;
  • 4 and more hours per week for workers who work under hazardous, unhealthy or dangerous conditions (Article 92 of the LC).

In the event of night work, the established duration of work is to be reduced by one hour (Article 96 of the LC).

According to Article 99, overtime work is permitted upon the worker’s written consent. In the following cases, it is permitted without the worker’s written consent:

  • to perform work essential for the defense of the Russian Federation, as well as to prevent production accidents or to eliminate their consequences;
  • to perform work necessary to the public good in the remedying of any unforeseen distruptions in the functioning of water and gas supply, heating and lighting, sewerage, transport and communications systems;
  • to complete work which was not possible to finish for technical reasons within the normal working hours due to unforeseen delay, whereas incompleteness of this work may entail technological damage or loss of property;
  • to carry out temporary work towards the repair or restoration of machinery or facilities, the inoperative state of which may lead to the loss of work for a large number of workers;
  • to continue uninterruptible work, if the worker who has to perform this work during the next shift fails to report to work.

Overtime shall not exceed four hours during two consecutive working days and 120 hours per year.

Overtime work is not allowed for workers under eighteen years of age (Article 286 of the LC) and pregnant women (Article 259 of the LC).

Paid Leave

Article 115 of the LC provides for 28 work days annual paid leave

According to Article 117 of the LC, additional paid annual leave is granted to workers performing work with hazardous or dangerous conditions such as:

  • underground and open pit mining;
  • work in zones of radioactive contamination;
  • other work entailing unavoidable and unfavorable effects for human health or harmful physical, biological, and other factors.

Lists of industries, works, professions, and posts where additional paid leave is mandated as well as minimum length and the terms of that leave are established by the Government of the Russian Federation in consultation with the Russian Tripartite Commission on Regulation of Socio-Labour Relations (Article 117 of the LC).

Additional annual leave is also granted to some other categories of workers referred to in Article 116 of the LC. Leave for the first year of work is granted to workers upon the completion of six months of uninterrupted work at the enterprise (Article 122 of the LC).

Maternity protection and maternity leave

According to Article 64 of the LC, it is prohibited to refuse to hire women for reasons connected with pregnancy or the existence of children. Such a refusal may be appealed in a court of law. Termination of a contract of employment with pregnant women workers and women workers with children of up to three years of age, as well as with single mothers having children of up to 14 years of age (crippled children - up to 16 years of age) at the initiative of the employer is not allowed (Article 261 of the LC).

Article 253 of the LC limits the work of women workers in difficult, hazardous or dangerous conditions, as well as underground work (except for non-physical work or work involving sanitary and consumer servicing) to the production cycles, jobs and professions approved by the Government of the Russian Federation. This article also prohibits women workers from being made to lift and manual carry loads exceeding the maximum limit allowable for them.

Upon medical prescription and her own request, production quotas and servicing rates for a pregnant woman worker have to be reduced or she has to be transferred to another job to preclude the possibility of harm arising from her conditions of work, while retaining the average remuneration paid for her previous job (Article 254 of the LC).

According to Article 255 of the LC, women workers are granted seventy calendar days pre natal leave (in the event of the birth of two or more children – eighty-four) and seventy calendar days post natal leave (or in the event of a complicated delivery - eighty-six, and in the event of the birth of two or more children - one hundred ten).

At the woman worker’s request, paid leave is granted for the care of a child until it reaches three years of age. This leave may also be taken by the father of the child, grandmother, grandfather, or by other relatives who actually care for the child (Article 256 of the LC). While on child-care, a woman worker retains her job (Article 256 of the LC).

Business trips, overtime work, night work, work on days off and holidays for pregnant women are prohibited (Article 162 of the RFLC). Women who have children up to three years of age from three to fourteen years of age (or disabled children, up to sixteen years of age) may not be requested to work overtime or go on business trips without their consent (Article 163 of the RFLC).

Women with children up to one and a half years of age are entitled to take additional breaks to feed their child. These breaks are granted every three hours and must not be less than thirty minutes in duration. In the event of two or more children up to the age of 18 months, the child feeding interval shall be no less than one hour (Article 258 of the LC).

Other leave entitlements

In cases of temporary incapacity to work due to illness or work-related or other injury, a benefit from the State social insurance is granted (Articles 183 and 184 of the LC).

For family-related circumstances and other justifiable reasons, a worker may, on applying, and with the authorization of the employer, be granted unpaid leave the length of which shall be determined by an agreement between the worker and the employer (Article 128 of the LC).

According to Article 173 of the LC, workers, successfully studying in the state accredited institutions of higher education by correspondence or at evening courses, are entitled to additional paid leave in order to:

  • pass tests and exams (forty calendar days each for the first and second courses; fifty calendar days for each course that follows);
  • prepare and defend diploma thesis (project) - four months;
  • pass graduate exams - one month.

Workers are also entitles to leave without pay in order to:

  • pass entry exams to institutions of higher education - ten calendar days;
  • take preparatory courses for entry exams to institutions of higher education – fifteen calendar days;
  • study in institutions of higher education on day course basis, combining studies with work (for passing tests and exams - ten calendar days per academic year; for preparing and defending diploma thesis (project)  - two-months, and for passing graduate exams - one-month.

Minimum age and protection of young workers

Work of persons under eighteen years of age in hazardous or dangerous conditions, in the underground, as well as at jobs that harm their moral development and health (gambling business, cabarets and night clubs, in production cycles, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages, tobacco goods, narcotic and toxic compounds) is prohibited. It is prohibited for minors to carry or move workloads in excess of the limits set for them. The list of jobs at which work of persons under eighteen years of age is prohibited, as well as allowable workload norms for them, is established by the Government of the Russian Federation with due account for consultations with All-Russia trade union associations and All-Russia associations of employers (Article 265 of the LC).

Workers under the age of 18 years are entitled to annual paid leave of 31 calendar days (Article 267 of the LC).

It is prohibited to send workers under eighteen years of age on business trips, to engage them in overtime work, night work, work on weekends and during holidays (Article 268 of the LC).

According to Article 269 of the LC, termination of a contract of employment with workers under eighteen years of age at the initiative of the employer (except in the case of liquidation of the enterprise), besides observance of the general procedures set forth in the LC, is permitted only with the consent of the respective labour inspection body and municipal commission on protection of the rights of minors.


The principle of equal treatment is laid down as a basic right in Article 19 of the CRF, according to which the state guarantees equality of rights and freedoms regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property and official position, place of residence, attitude to religion, convictions, membership in public associations, as well as of other circumstances. This basic constitutional right is also set forth in Article 3 of the LC: “Everyone has equal opportunities in exercising labour rights. No one shall be restricted in labour rights and freedoms or receive any privileges while exercising these rights and freedoms due to sex, race, color, nationality, language, origin, propertied or official status, age, place of residence, attitude to religion, political convictions, affiliation or non-affiliation to public associations, as well as other circumstances which are not associated with work qualities."

Pay issues

The right to be paid wages timely and in full in accordance with qualification, complexity of work and its quantity and quality is one of the basic rights of workers envisaged in Article 21 of the LC.

Wages are to be paid in the monetary form in the currency of the Russian Federation (rubles). Collective agreements or contracts of employment can envisage other forms of wage payments, if this does not contradict federal law or international treaties entered into by the Russian Federation. The amount of non-monetary wage payments cannot exceed twenty per cent of the total amount of wages (Article 131 of the LC).

According to Article 133 of the LC, the monthly wage of a worker having worked out the norm of working time and having fulfilled the labour standards (labour duties) for the given period of time, can not be lower than minimum wage established by federal law.

Article 134 of the LC provides for wage indexation. For budget financed enterprises the procedure of indexation is established by law; for profit financed enterprises this procedure is established in collective agreements and other enterprise level documents.

The wage systems, tariff rates, salaries, and various types of payments are set for:

  • employees of budget financed enterprises – by laws and other legal instruments;
  • employees of enterprises with combined (budget and profit) financing – by laws, other legal instruments, as well as by collective agreements and other enterprise level instruments;
  • employees of other enterprises – by collective agreements , collective contracts, local normative instruments of organizations, and other enterprise level instruments (Article 135 of the LC).

Wages are to be paid at least once every two weeks (Article 136 of the LC).

Deductions from wages can be made only in the cases envisaged in the LC and other federal laws. According to Article 137 of the LC, wage deductions with a view to setting off workers’ indebtedness against the employer may be effectuated in the following cases:

  • to be paid back for an advance payment on work that the worker failed to perform;
  • to pay off an advance payment made to the worker going on a business trip or being transferred to another location, or for any economic expenses associated therewith, that was not spent or not returned in due time;
  • to return any extra amounts paid to the worker as a result of accounting mistakes;
  • to compensate for days taken as vacation, if worker is dismissal prior to the end of the working year and he or she has already used up his or her annual vacation leave. No money shall be withheld for these days if the employee is being dismissed for the reasons indicated in paragraphs (1), (2), (3-a), and (4) of Article 81 and paragraphs (1), (2), (5), (6), and 7 of Article 83 of the LC.

With each payment of wages the total of all deductions shall not exceed 20 percent, while in the cases specifically envisaged by federal law the latter may amount to 50 percent. If wage deduction is made according to several executive documents, the worker by all means retains 50 percent of his or her wage (Article 138 of the LC).

The employer delaying payment of wages or otherwise violating rules governing the payment of wages is to be held liable in accordance with the LC and other federal laws. In the event of a more than fifteen-day delay in the payment of wages, the worker is entitled to suspend work until payment of due wages is made, having notified the employer in writing (Article 142). In the event of violation of the established procedures for the payment of wages, leave, severance allowance and other payments due to the worker, the employer shall be obliged to pay them with interest charged (monetary compensation) in the amount of no less than 1/300 of the currently existing re-financing rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation of the delayed sums for each day of such delay starting on the next to follow date as of the established payment date until the date of actual payments set off, inclusive Article 236 of the LC).

Trade union regulation

Freedom of association is guaranteed by the CRF, according to which “everyone has the right to association, including the right to establish trade unions in order to protect one's interests" (Article 30(1)).

Trade union activities are regulated by the Trade Union Act, 1996 (hereafter “the TUA”) and by the LC. All workers (of at least fourteen years of age) have the right to freely and independently establish trade unions to protect their rights, to join trade unions, to become involved in trade union activities and withdraw from trade unions without prior authorization. Trade unions have the right to set up their own associations at industry, territory or other levels. They have the right to cooperate with trade unions of other states, to enter into international trade unions and other associations and organizations, and to conclude treaties and agreements with them (Article 2 of the TUA).

Trade unions are independent in their activity from the organs of executive power, the organs of local self-government, employers and their amalgamations (unions, associations), political parties and other public entities, and shall not be accountable to them or subject to their control. Any interference by organs of state power, organs of local self-government and their officials in the activity of trade unions which may entail a restriction of trade union rights or hinder the legitimate exercise of their legitimate activity, is prohibited (Article 5 of the TUA).

According to Article 8 of the TUA, trade union registration is optional. It is required only when a trade union would like to acquire legal personality. In this case a trade union has to register with the Russian Federation Ministry of Justice or its territorial agencies depending on the location of the respective trade union. Denial of registration or evasion thereof may be appealed in the court of law.

Workers participation

According to Article 52 of the LC, the workers’ right to participate in the management of the enterprise directly or through their representative bodies is ensured in the LC, other federal laws, collective agreements and enterprise level regulations. Main forms of workers' participation are the following:

  • taking account by the employer of the opinion of the workers’ representative body in the cases specifically envisaged in the LC or collective agreements;
  • employer’s consultations with the workers’ representatives on the matters concerning the adoption of the enterprise level normative regulations;
  • informaing the workers’ representatives on questions directly affecting workers' interests;
  • discussions with the employer on matters concerning the functioning of the enterprise;
  • participation of the workers’ representatives in collective bargaining;
  • other forms provided for by the LC, collective agreements or enterprise level regulations Article 53 of the LC).

Collective bargaining and agreements

The legislative framework for collective bargaining in the Russian Federation is established by the LC and the Collective Agreements and Accords Act, 1992 (hereafter “the CAAA”). Article 40 of the LC defines collective agreement as a legal act, which regulates socio-economic relations between the employer and workers in an enterprise. While the term “collective agreements” refers to the enterprise level bipartite collective agreements, the term “accords” means agreements (bipartite or tripartite) concluded at federal, industry, territorial or occupational level (Article 45 of the LC and Articles 2, 18 of the CAAA) for a minimum period of one year and a maximum period of three years (Articles 43 and 48 of the LC and Articles 14 and 22 of the CAAA).

According to Articles 36 of the LC, both employers and workers’ representatives are entitled to initiate collective bargaining. On receipt of a written proposal to start collective bargaining the other party must within seven calendar days enter into the negotiations.

In the case of two or more primary trade union organizations existing in the enterprise, they have to set up a joint bargaining representation body on the basis of proportional union membership representation which has to include all primary trade union organizations.

If such a body fails to be established within 5 calendar days as of the moment of beginning collective bargaining, the trade union representing over a half of all employees is entitled to engage in collective bargaining. If none of the trade unions represents over a half of employees, a general meeting (conference) of the employees of the enterprise determines through a secret ballot a trade union which is further authorized to conduct collective bargaining. In both cases, other trade unions are entitled to nominate their representatives to participate in collective bargaining.

Insofar as national, industry and territory levels are concerned, the respective trade unions or their associations are entitled to involvement in collective bargaining. If there are several trade unions (or their associations) at these levels, they have to set up a joint bargaining representation body on the basis of proportional union membership representation which has to include all primary trade union organizations. If such a body fails to be established, the trade union (or association of trade unions) representing the greater number of members is entitled participate in collective bargaining (Article 37 of the LC).

The parties to collective bargaining no later than two weeks as of the date of receiving a written notification initiating collective bargaining must provide each other with the necessary information. All rules concerning the confidentiality of such information have to be respected. Time and place of holding collective bargaining as well as its agenda are determined by the parties themselves (Article 37 of the LC).

On receipt of a written invitation to collective bargaining, the other party should act on it within seven days (Article 6 of the CAAA). According to Articles 21 and 22 of the LC, one of the basic rights of the workers and obligations of the employers is to participate in collective bargaining and to sign collective agreements.

If, after the three months following the initiation of collective bargaining, the parties have failed to agree upon certain provisions of a negotiated collective agreement, they (i) must sign an agreement with regard to the provision on which they managed to agree; and (ii) simultaneously compile a protocol of disagreements. Unsettled disagreements may become a subject of further bargaining or be settled in accordance with the LC or other federal laws on settlement of collective labour disputes. Collective agreements may be signed with regard to an enterprise as a whole, its branch offices, representations, and other structural divisions (Article 40 of the LC).

The contents of collective agreements and accords are subject to their parties’ consideration and negotiation. Article 41 of the LC and Articles 13 and 21 of the CAAA provide a non-exhaustive list of the issues which may be included in collective agreements or accords.

An agreement (or accord) enters into force on the date of its signing by the parties, or on the date stipulated therein (Articles 43 and 48 of the LC).

Within seven days of signing a collective agreement (or accord), the employer (or employers’ representative body) must submit it to a relevant labour administration body fornotificationregistration. Entry into force of a collective agreement (or accord) does not depend on the fact of registration. In registering a collective agreement (or accord) the labour administration body, identifies provisions worsening the employees’ situation as opposed to the LC or other laws and regulations and informs the representatives of the parties who have signed the collective agreement (or accord), as well as notifies a relevant labour inspection body. Such provisions are deemed invalid and shall not be applied (Article 50 of the LC).

A collective agreement applies to all employees of the enterprise (Article 43 of the LC). Provisions of an accord apply to:

  • employees and employers that authorized corresponding representatives to sign an accord;
  • state and local self-government bodies which are parties to this accords; and
  • employees and employers that adjoined the agreement after execution thereof.

An accord also applies to all of the employers being the members of an employers’ association that executed the agreement. Termination of membership in an employers’ association does not release an employer from respecting the accord that was signed at the time of his membership. An employer that entered the association while an accord remained valid, is obligated to respect this accord.

In the cases when industry agreement is signed at federal level, the head of the federal labour administration body is entitled to invite the employers that were not participating in this accord, to join it. If the employers failed to declare their unwillingness within 30 calendar days of receiving the invitation, this accord is deemed applicable to these employers as of the moment of receiving the above-mentioned invitation (Article 48 of the LC).

Upon its expiration, a collective agreement (or accord) remains in force until its parties change it or conclude a new collective agreement or accord (Articles 14, 22 of the CAAA).

Disputes settlement

Labour Law of the Russian Federation provides for different settlement procedures depending on whether the dispute is individual or collective. For individual disputes procedural distinctions have been made depending on whether the dispute is over the application of already existing standards governing conditions of work (the so-called “dispute of rights”) or over the new conditions of work or a change in existing conditions (the so-called “interest dispute”).

Individual disputes settlement

Article 381 of the LC defines an individual labour dispute as a disagreements between a worker and an employer concerning the application of labour legislation and other normative acts, collective agreements and other agreements on labour, and also the conditions of the contract of employment. According to 382 of the LC, such disputes are considered by the labour disputes settlement commissions (hereafter “the LDSC”) and by the courts of law of general jurisdiction.1

The LDSC is established at the employer’s or workers’ initiative and consists of equal number of their representatives. Workers’ representatives are to be elected at the general meeting (conference) of the enterprise. The employer’s representative is to be appointed by the chief executive of the enterprise (Article 384 of the LC). The worker may appeal to the LDSC within three-month period from the date, when he or she learned or could have learned about violation of his or her rights. In the case of missing established deadline for respectful reasons, the LDSC can restore it and take on the dispute for consideration (Article 386 of the LC).

The dispute has to be considered by the LDSC within ten calendar days from the date of the receipt of the worker’s application. Consideration of a dispute in the absence of the worker is permitted only upon his or her written consent (Article 387 of the LC). A decision is taken by the LDSC by a simple majority of its members participating in the consideration of the dispute (Article 388 of the LC). If the LDSC has not considered the dispute within ten days, the worker has the right to withdraw his or her appeal and submit the case before a court of law. If the LDC has considered the dispute but the worker disagrees with the decision, he or she can submit the case before a court of law within ten days (Article 390 of the LC).

In some cases an individual dispute of rights can be submitted directly (i.e., without its consideration by the LDSC) to a court of law. These cases include,inter alia, the following situations:

  • the worker’s appeal for:
  • reinstatement, irrespective of the grounds for the termination of the labour contract,
  • changes in the date and wording of the grounds for termination;
  • payment for the time of involuntary absence at the work place;
  • the employer’s appeal for compensation by the worker of damages inflicted by this worker to the enterprise;
  • the person’s appeal in the case of:
  • the employer’s refusal to hire; and
  • discrimination.

As a general rule, an individual dispute of rights can be submitted to the court within a three-month period; in the case of termination at the employer’s initiative – within a one-month period. The employer can appeal for compensation of damages inflicted by the worker within a one-year period (Article 329 of the LC).

According to Article 393 of the LC, workers are relieved from paying duties and court expenses.

If the body considering the individual rights dispute finds the dismissal or transfer of the worker unjustified, the worker is to be reinstated by this body. Furthermore, the body considering the dispute awards the worker his or her average earnings for the entire period of forced absence from work or with a difference in the earnings for the entire period of his or her work at a lower paid positions. Upon the worker’s application, the body considering the dispute may limit its decision to compensation only and to change(s) in the wording of the grounds for his or her termination.

Collective disputes settlement

Article 398 of the LC defines collective labour disputes as unresolved differences between workers and employers concerning:

  • the establishment of new or a change in the existing conditions of work (including wages);
  • the conclusion, change and implementation of collective agreements and accords; and
  • the employer’s refusal to take into account the view of the workers’ representative, while making decisions of a normative nature at the enterprise.

Conciliation procedures mean consideration of a collective labour dispute by:

  • the conciliation commission;
  • the parties themselves with the participation of amediator; or
  • the labour arbitration.

Conciliationis a mandatory stage in the collective labour disputes settlement procedure. To this end, a conciliation commission consisting of an equal number of representatives of the parties to the dispute has to be established within three working days from the beginning of the dispute. The employer does not have the right to refuse to create a conciliation commission or participate in its work. The conciliation commission has five working days to consider the dispute. The decision taken by the conciliation commission has binding force on the parties to the dispute. If the parties prove to be unable to agree on a conciliation commission, they submit the dispute to a mediator or to the labour arbitration (Article 402 of the LC).

Mediation procedure follows unsuccessful conciliation. For this purpose the parties to the dispute may invite within three working days a mediator. If necessary, they parties may ask the Collective Labour Disputes Settlement Service (hereafter “the CLDSS”), which is a state agency, to recommend the candidature of such a mediator. The mediator has seven working days to resolve the dispute. If within 3 working days the parties fail to reach an agreement regarding the candidature of a mediator, they shall initiate labour arbitration procedure (Article 403 of the LC).

Labour arbitrationis a provisional body (ad hoc) established by the parties to the dispute and the CLDSS within three days from completion of the consideration of the dispute by the conciliation commission or a mediator, provided that the parties to the dispute agreed in writing to respect the decision(s) taken by this body. The composition, procedures and powers of labour arbitration are defined by the joint decision taken by the employer, workers’ representative and the CLDSS. Labour arbitration considers a dispute with the participation of its parties within five working days (Article 404 of the LC).

In the case of the employer’s refusal to establish labour arbitration or implement the decision(s) taken by labour arbitration, the workers may resort to a strike (Article 406).

Strikes and lockouts

The right to strike is a constitutional right in the Russian Federation (Article 37 of the CRF). Article 398 of the LC defines a strike as worker’s temporary and voluntary refusal of a worker to fulfill their work duties, (entirely or in part) with the intention being the settlement of a collective labour dispute. Participation in a strike is voluntary. Nobody can be forced to participate or to refuse participation in a strike (Article 409 of the LC).

The decision to declare a strike is made by a general meeting (conference) of the workers of an enterprise or by a trade union or by a trade union association and is considered adopted if not less than half of those present at a meeting (conference) vote for it. Such meeting (conference) is deemed valid if minimum two thirds of total number of workers, members of a trade union or conference delegates participate in it. A written notice about the forthcoming strike has to be submitted to the employer at least ten calendar days in advance. After five calendar days of the completion of the work of the conciliation commission, there may be a singular one-hour warning strike, about which the employer is to be notified in writing three working days in advance. In this case, minimum essential services remain operational during this strike (Article 411 of the LC).

During the strike, minimum essential services the stoppage of which may create an immediate threat to life and health of the population have to be ensured. The lists of such services are defined by the respective federal state bodies in consultation with the respective nation-wide trade union (con)federations. In the case of failure to ensure minimum essential services, the strike may be recognized illegal (Article 412 of the LC).

In accordance with Article 55 of the CRF, a strike may also be considered illegal in the following cases:

  • during war or a state of emergency;
  • in the armed forces;
  • in law enforcement agencies;
  • in security service;
  • in the essential services, if the strike would endanger the country’s defense or national security, as well as the lives or health of the population.

Decisions to declare a strike unlawful may be taken by a respective court of law. In the  case of an immediate threat to lives and health of the population, the court may postpone the strike, not yet started, for the term maximum 30 days, while the strike which already started, - to suspend it for the same period of time (Article 413).

Participation in a legal strike may not be considered as a breach of labour discipline or as grounds for termination of the contract of employment. Participation in an illegal strike, however, may. During a strike workers participating in it retain their jobs. The employer has the right not to pay workers their wages during their participation in a strike, except those workers who keep the minimum essential services operational. Payment for idle time is due to the workers not participating in a strike and not having the opportunity to perform their work in connection with it. The employer has the right to transfer such workers to other work for the period of the strike (Article 414 of the LC).

Article 415 of the LC prohibits lockouts.

ILO Conventions ratified by the Country

The Russian Federation was a member of the ILO from 1934 to 1940. In 1954 its membership was renewed. See Conventions ratified by the Russian Federation.

Web links

Official gazette

  • Rossiyskaia Gazeta, Moscow, 1990-
  • Sobranie Zakonodatelstva Rossijskoj Federatcyi, Moscow, 1993-

Selected publications

  • A. Aslund: How Russia became a market economy. Washington, Brookings Institution, 1995.
  • M. V. Baglai: Creation of a new system of labor relations in Russia: Theses. Problems of Economic Transition (Armonk) 35 (5), September 1992.
  • J. Blasi: D. Panina: Emerging industrial relations system in Russia's privatized enterprises. Labor Law Journal (Chicago) 45 (8), August 1994.
  • Amy J. Bliss: Proletariat to Perestroika: A Comparison of Labour Law in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. Comparative Labour Law Journal; Volume 18, Number 2, Winter '97.
  • M. Boycko, A. Schleifer, R. W. Vishny: Privatizing Russia. Cambridge, MIT Press, 1995.
  • S. Braguinsky and G. Yavlinsky: Incentives and institutions : the transition to a market economy in Russia. Princeton, N.J. Princeton University Press, 2000.
  • S. Clarke: The formation of a labour market in Russia. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 1999.
  • Linda J. Cook: Labor and liberalization : trade unions in the new Russia. New York: Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1997.
  • Paul T. Christensen: Russia's workers in transition : labor, management, and the state under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1999.
  • G. M. Danilenko and B. L. Smith: Law and democracy in the new Russia. Washington, 1993.
  • V. Egorov: Settlement of labour disputes in the USSR. A paper submitted to the National Seminar on Labour Disputes Settlement for China (Beijing, 3-8- October 1988). Geneva, ILO, 1989.
  • V. Egorov: The reform of Soviet labour legislation: Problems and prospects. Columbia Journal of Transitional Law, Vol. 28, No. 1, 1990.
  • V. Egorov: Recognition and the role of employers’ and workers’ organizations in collective bargaining. A paper submitted to the European Conference on Tripartism (Bratislava, 19-22 September 1994). Bratislava, 1994.
  • V. Egorov: Privatization and labour relations in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Industrial Relation Journal (Blackwell Publishers). Vol. 27, No. 1, March 1996.
  • F. J. M. Feldbrugge: Russian Law: The end of the Soviet System and the role of Law.Dordrecht/Boston/London, 1993.
  • K. N. Gusov: Kommentariy k Kodeksu Zakonov o Trude. Smolensk, Izdatelstvo PROSPEKT, 1997.
  • J. W. Hahn (ed.): Democratization in Russia: The development of legislative institutions.Armonk, New York, M.E. Sharpe, 1996.
  • F. Hoffer: Traditional trade unions during transition and economic reform in the Russian Federation. Interdepartmental Action Programme on Privatization, Restructuring and EconomicDemocracy; Enterprise and Cooperative Development Dept., International Labour Office. Geneva, ILO, 1997.
  • Human rights and legal reform in the Russian Federation. New York, 1993.
  • S. A. Ivanov: Rossiiskoe trudovoe pravo : istoriia i sovremennost'. Gosudartsvo i Pravo. Moskva : Nauka. No. 5, May 1999.
  • A. M. Kurennoi: Proizvodstvennaia demokratiia i trudovoe pravo. Moskva : MGU, 1989.
  • R. Z. Livshitz: Trudovoe zakonodatelstbo: Hactoiashee i budushee. Moskvy, Nauka, 1989.
  • M. Ravallion and M. Lokshin: Who wants to redistribute?: Russia's tunnel effect in the 1990s. Washington DC, World Bank, Development Research Group, Poverty and Human Resources, 1999.
  • M. Ryan: Social trends in contemporary Russia: A statistical source book. New York, St. Martin's Press, 1993.
  • D. Sachs Jeffrey and K. Pistor (ed.): The rule of law and economic reform in Russia. Boulder, Colo.: WestviewPress, 1997.
  • Social priorities and mechanisms of economic transformation in Russia. Problems of economic transition: a journal of translations from Russian. Armonk, N.Y. M.E. Sharpe. Vol. 41, no. 5, September 1998.
  • J. E. M. Thirkell, K. Petkov and S. A. Vickerstaff: The transformation of labour relations: Restructuring and privatization in Eastern Europe and Russia. Oxford, New York. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • SA. Vickerstaff, J. Thirkell, R. Scase: Transformation of labour relations in Eastern Europe and Russia: a comparative assessment. International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations (Deventer), 10 (4), Winter 1994.
  • Trudovoe pravo I pravo socialnogo obespecheniya: Aktualnie problemi. Moskovskaia Gosudarstvennaia Juridicheskaia Akademia. Moskva, 2000.
  • D. Yergin, T. Gustafson: Russia 2010. 2d ed., New York, Vintage Books, 1995.

1 There are no labour courts in the Russian Federation.