Vaccination

1. What options does the employer have to encourage employees to be vaccinated? Can the employer provide a financial incentive to employees? 

The employer may encourage employees to be vaccinated by providing information on the benefits of vaccinations, vaccines currently available, centres of vaccination, etc. Furthermore, the employer may provide employees with additional paid days-off after the vaccination. However, we would not recommend offering any other financial incentives to motivate employees to be vaccinated. To do so would risk being accused of implementing health-related discriminatory measures.

2. Is the employer obliged to offer vaccines (or can it voluntarily offer vaccines) to employees? Is the employer obliged to support (or can it voluntarily support) third parties or governmental institutions providing vaccines to employees?

An employer is not obliged to offer vaccines to employees but it may offer workers opportunities for voluntary vaccinations, such as through specific programmes covered by medical insurance subscribed to by the employer (e.g. influenza vaccinations).

Also, an employer is not obliged to support third parties or governmental institutions providing vaccines to employees. Employees may opt to be vaccinated by these third parties or institutions on a voluntary basis.

3. Can the employer verify which of its employees have been vaccinated? If yes, can the employer make record of these vaccinated employees?

The employer shall verify which of its employees have been vaccinated and make records of this information when these vaccinations are required under law (refer to question 5 below). In other cases, the employer may request this information, but the employees have the right not to provide it. If vaccination information is provided on a voluntary basis, the employer may keep it in the employee’s file provided that the employee gives the relevant written consent for the processing of personal data.

4. Does an employee have a duty to inform the employer whether or not he or she has been vaccinated?

An employee has a duty to inform employers of their vaccination status only if such a vaccination is required for that employee under the law (refer to question 5 below).

5. Can the employer oblige employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment? If yes, specify under what conditions. Include in your answer to what extent certain professions are (statutorily) obliged by your country to be vaccinated, such as in the health sector

In Russia, an employer can require compulsory vaccination when an employee performs work considered high risk for contracting infection (e.g. employees working in education institutions, organisations dealing with infected patients, labs with live cultures of pathogens of infectious diseases or with human blood and body fluids, etc.) and a related vaccination is included in the National Calendar of preventive vaccination for epidemic indications. 

All such cases are listed in the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of 15 July 1999 N 825 (as amended on 24 December 2014) "On approval of the list of works, performance of which is associated with a high risk of infectious diseases and requires compulsory preventive vaccinations". Vaccinations included in the National Calendar of preventive vaccination for epidemic indications are de facto mandatory for these categories of employees without meeting any additional conditions. 

As a result, employees in the above categories can be suspended from work without pay or even dismissed if they refuse vaccinations in the absence of medical contraindications.

On 27 December 2020, an Order of the Ministry of Health came into force, which included COVID-19 vaccinations in the Calendar of Preventive Vaccination for Epidemic Indications for several categories of citizens. This Order specifies a list of categories of citizens who are to be vaccinated against the coronavirus infection "in order of priority". The first level of priority includes employees of medical and educational organisations and social workers.

Vaccinations included in the Calendar of Preventive Vaccination for Epidemic Indications become obligatory after the chief sanitary inspector of the Russian Federation or a chief sanitary inspector of a respective region adopts a decision on vaccinations.

To date, the above decision on vaccination has been adopted in more than 40 regions of the Russian Federation. Vaccinations in these regions are obligatory for employees engaged in specific trade and service sectors (a list is provided in the relevant decision). Employees (falling under the provisions of para 4 and 5 above) who refuse to be vaccinated in the absence of medical contraindications may arguably be suspended from work without pay, but cannot be dismissed. 

6. Can employees refuse to be vaccinated? Please also include the consequences for employees working in a certain field or profession where vaccinations are obliged, but an employee refuses to be vaccinated. 

Any employee may indeed refuse to be vaccinated according to Federal Law No. 157 "On Immunoprophylaxis of Infectious Diseases" without having to provide the employer with an explanation. 

However, employees for whom vaccinations are mandatory (see question 5 above) that reject vaccinations in the absence of medical contraindications may be suspended from work without pay and may even be dismissed in cases provided for in para 1 to 3 in question 5 above.

7. Can the employer refuse to admit employees into the workplace if they are not vaccinated in terms of returning to the workplace. Furthermore, is it possible to make two categories of employees and make distinction between these two groups of people in terms of safety measures as wearing face masks or quarantine obligations?

If a vaccination is not compulsory for an employee, then non-vaccination cannot be a reason for refusal to admit an employee into the workplace. 

For an employee for whom a vaccination is compulsory, a refusal to be vaccinated may lead to suspension from work without pay.

No distinction between these two groups of people may be made by the employer in terms of safety measures. The safety measures apply to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees. 

8. Can the landlord of the building of employer (if any) refuse to admit employees into the building (workplace)? Especially, when multiple employers/offices are established in one building, and they are sharing the elevator or have other shared areas within the building.

No, only the employer may refuse to admit employees into the building (i.e. workplace). The landlord may only require compliance with the statutory rules establishing such safety measures as wearing face mask and physical distancing applicable to all visitors of the building.

9. Can the employer make a distinction in requesting vaccination status (or proof by means of an app or COVID-19 pass) between employees and third parties such as visitors, suppliers, employees of suppliers, contractors etc.?

Yes, the employer may make such a distinction between employees and third parties in requesting vaccination status. 

10. How has your country implemented the EU DCC (if applicable)?

This is not applicable for Russia.

11. In case employer organises external events, can vaccination status (by means of an app or COVID-19 pass) be requested by this external party?

Yes. As a rule, such an external party may request vaccination status.

12. How should international business travel be managed? Include any local requirements where proof of vaccination is necessary to enter your jurisdiction.

Currently, there is no vaccination requirement for an individual entering the Russian Federation. However, all individuals (both foreign and Russian nationals) arriving in Russia must confirm that they are not infected with COVID-19. In particular, a foreign national must show a negative COVID-19 test result that is not older than 72 hours when entering the Russian Federation and a Russian national (non-vaccinated and who has not suffered from COVID-19 within the last six months) must pass a COVID-19 test within three days upon arrival and inform the authorities of the result within four days upon arrival.  

Those Russian nationals who have undergone vaccination with a vaccine approved in Russia (i.e. domestically developed vaccines within its borders at this stage) within the last 12 months or recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months do not require testing, but must inform authorities of their vaccination status or earlier infection within four days upon arrival.

13. Can the employer oblige the employee to travel for business purposes? Who will have to bear the costs for testing in case of non-vaccinated employees?

Yes, an employer may oblige an employee to travel for business purposes. The employer will bear the costs for testing of a non-vaccinated employee travelling on business. 

14. Which points of discussion or developments are expected in the future? Include any relevant new legislation that will or could be introduced.

Recognition of foreign a vaccine passport is under negotiation, but should take place only upon reciprocal acceptance of the Russian vaccine passport.

Testing

1. Can an employer oblige an employee to take a COVID-19 test (regardless if vaccinated or not)? If so, is the employer required to provide workplace COVID-19 tests? If not required, can it opt to do so voluntarily?

An employer can require an employee to take a COVID-19 test only if such testing is required by the relevant decree from regional authorities based on the epidemiological situation in a specific region.

Employers must contact medical organisations (either from the list provided by the competent authorities or a private organisation with the relevant licence in the Registry of COVID-19 testing) and organise tests for employees at the company's expense. This testing must be free of charge for employees and may be organised voluntarily at the employer’s premises.

2. If the answers to the previous questions are yes, how often is the employee obliged to take a test? Can tests be performed by the employer's medical personnel or must they be done by a professional third party?

The frequency of testing is set by decrees from regional authorities based on the epidemiological situation in a specific region. Testing can only be conducted by those organisations that are officially registered for this activity.

3. Is an employee obliged to share the outcome of a positive COVID-19 test with the employer?

Rules may vary from region to region. But in Moscow, for instance, an employee is obliged to share the outcome of a positive COVID-19 test with the employer. 

4. Can an employee refuse to be tested? Should testing become a mandatory condition of employment?

An employee may refuse to be tested. Testing may be a mandatory condition of hiring only if the employee is required to undergo an obligatory preliminary medical examination before hiring and the examination includes COVID-19 testing. 

5. Can an employer assign different duties to employees who are unable to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering the workplace?

The employer and the employee may agree on a remote-work arrangement or the performance of different duties. Otherwise, if there is no such agreement, the employer must admit the employee into the workplace even without the results of a COVID-19 test.

Check out the other chapters of the CMS Expert Guide to vaccination and testing for employers here.