In the context of restrictions towards the Russian Federation, companies may face downtime due to problems with logistics, supply of materials and consumables. Below are examples of the details for registration and payment for downtime, as well as clarifications from departments and judicial practice.

Remuneration for labor depends on the reasons for downtime

Downtime, that is, a temporary suspension of work, may be declared due to economic, technological, technical or organizational reasons. Downtime payment is affected by how it occurred. Possible options:

  • through the fault of the employer;
  • for reasons beyond the control of the parties;
  • through the fault of the employee.

For violation of payment for downtime, a legal entity employer shall face a fine of RUB 30,000 to 50,000.

What category of reasons for downtime are sanctions?

On March 01, 2022, Rostrud on the website онлайнинспекция.рф explained:   if downtime is directly due to the sanctions that were introduced in 2022 against the Russian Federation, then this is not considered a reason dependent on the employer.

In this case, the payment shall be at least 2/3 of the tariff rate or salary, and it shall be calculated in proportion to the downtime. The Ministry of Labor and Rostrud emphasized that this is only a minimum limit and companies may pay more.

How to declare downtime

When registering a downtime, it is necessary to act according to the following algorithm:

  • Order,
  • Familiarization of employees with the order against signature;
  • Reflection of information in the timesheet (code “NP” or “32”);
  • Notification of the employment service authority within three business days after the issuance of the downtime order. A number of employment service authorities recommend notifying even if a downtime has occurred for some employees, and not only when it caused a complete halt in the company’s activities.

In case of downtime due to the fault of the employer, it should be borne in mind that payment requirements have been adjusted  since March 01 . As a general rule, this is 2/3 of the average salary, but now there is an exception. If the employer has failed to provide the employee with  collective and personal protective equipment and because of this a downtime arose,  it shall be paid in the amount of average earnings.

How long may downtime due to the fault of the employer last

Rostrud replied that there is no deadline, beyond which it is forbidden to declare downtime. However, practice shows that it should not be abused.

The First Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction also noted that downtime for a very long period does not comply with the basic principles of regulation of labor relations.

Is it possible to bring an employee to disciplinary liability for absence from the workplace during downtime due to the fault of the employee

Rostrud replied that this is acceptable, although such downtime is not paid. At the same time, if the employer issued an order to release the employee from the obligation to be present at the workplace during the downtime period, then bringing him/her to disciplinary liability for this may be considered unlawful.

The courts also note that during downtime, employees must be at their workplaces, since labor legislation does not exempt them from this obligation. Recent examples are in the 7th Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction dated April 08, 2021 in case No. 88-4583/2021 and the 8th Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction dated December 09, 2021 No. 88-20754/2021. Absence at the place may be possible only by agreement with the employer.