Several changes have been introduced to the RF Labor Code over the last few months. The changes cover a wide range of issues from increasing the Russian winter holidays by two days; establishing employer accountability for salary payments and deductions on payment statements; allowing for a longer timeframe for athletes and coaches to notify their employers on terminating their employment contracts; to finally allowing for faster recovery of payments due to employees by their employers through expedited court proceedings.

Additional Holidays

January 6 and 8 are now officially included into the New Year Holidays. Starting from 2013, the New Year Holidays will last eight days, from January 1 to January 8 (including January 7, which is Orthodox Christmas). Increasing the number of days from five to seven will actually allow the duration of the New Year Holidays to be reduced, because now the last non-working day of the New Year Holidays will be January 8 and the two days during this period that fall on weekends (and were previously compensated by extending the New Year Holidays by two days) could now be transferred as holidays at a later time in the year (e.g., in May), as will be specified by the respective federal law or by a legislative act of the RF Government (Article 112 of the Labor Code was amended by RF Federal Law No. 35-FZ, dated April 23, 2012, which came into force on April 24, 2012).

Employer Accountability

Employers are now required to inform their employees of monetary compensation for delays (if any) when paying salaries as well as the following: (i) employee salaries; (ii) amount paid for annual leave; and (iii) balance due to the employer upon the employee terminating his/her employment; and/or (iv) other payments due to employees. Previously, employers only had to note the following when paying their employees; (i) constituent parts of the salary; (ii) deductions and the grounds for making them; and (iii) total amount due to the employee. (Article 136 of the Labor Code was amended by RF Federal Law No. 35-FZ, dated April 23, 2012, which came into force on April 24, 2012).

Athlete and Coach Accountability

Certain categories of athletes and coaches must now notify their employers in accordance with the term provided in their employment contracts in order to voluntarily terminate their employment. Such term can exceed the general term of one month provided for athletes and coaches, if established in the local normative acts approved by the relevant RF sport federation (Articles 348.2 and 348.12 of the Labor Code was amended by RF Federal Law No. 136-FZ, dated July 28, 2012, which came into force on August 10, 2012). This may pave the way for longer notice periods for other categories of workers normally subject to longer notice periods such as bankers, lawyers and other professional workers.

Summary (Expedited) Proceedings for Recovering Payments Due to Employees

Amendments were also introduced into Article 122 of the RF Civil Procedure Code, particularly addressing court orders issued to employers under summary proceedings, which can now be issued based on the request for payment of (i) accrued but not paid amounts for annual leave, payments upon the termination of employment and other accrued amounts due to employees, and (ii) monetary compensation if any delay has occurred for salary payments, annual leave, payments due upon the termination of employment and/or other payments due to the employee (Article 122 of the RF Civil Procedure Code was amended by RF Federal Law No. 35-FZ, dated April 23, 2012, which came into force on April 24, 2012).

The procedure has been established to increase the efficiency of the courts by decreasing their workload. However, the summary procedure could potentially weaken the position of employees in defending their cases in court, because they will not be able to fully present their positions.