Employment book: electronic or paper one?

Legal Digest Articles
Please be reminded about the possibility of switching to electronic employment books, the maintenance of which will greatly simplify the HR document flow of your company and will allow to transfer the parties of employment relationships to a new level of personnel interaction.

Starting from January 1, 2020, a transitional period has begun in the Russian Federation for the introduction of "electronic employment books" – employment history of employees in electronic form.

The new changes took place within the framework of the approved federal law and implied significant transformations in personnel work.

In 2020, employees received the right to refuse to maintain a paper employment book, and employers began to form employment history of their employees in electronic form and submit them for storage in the information resources of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation.

Starting from 2021, for candidates who are applying for a job for the first time, a paper employment book is not issued. Employees who have work experience until 2021 have the right to continue to maintain a paper employment book along with an electronic one, or completely switch to digital format by writing an appropriate application to the employer.

Despite the fact that Russian business has adapted to the new format of work with employment books, the following questions remain open for most employees: "Is it rational to maintain a paper employment book so far?", "What is the principle of maintaining an electronic employment book and how does it differ from the paper version?", "What are the advantages of the electronic format?"

Acsour specialists answered these questions and talked about the principles of working with electronic employment books.


The electronic employment book (EEB) is a database that contains information about the labour activity of an employee and is stored in the information resources of the Pension and Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation (abbreviated as the Social Fund of Russia, SFR).

When filling in the EEB, the information is indicated:

  • about the employee (in particular, his or her full name, date of birth, personal insurance policy number);
  • about the place of work;
  • about the job function (position, profession, qualifications, etc.);
  • about the date of employment, dismissal, transfer to another job (including internal and external secondary job employees, remote employees and employees on the civil law contract);
  • about the grounds for dismissal, etc.

The employer has to submit this data to the SFR information system in the form of a report on the EFS-1 form.


When switching to the EEB, the employee has to write an appropriate application and transfer it to the employer. On the day of filing the application, an entry is made in the paper employment book about the transition to the EEB.

Within three working days after submitting the application for the transition to the EEB, an entry is made in the paper employment book on the termination of its maintenance, and it is returned to the employee. It is recommended to issue a paper employment book to the employee against signature.

Employment history is filled in for each employee in the event that change in personnel has occurred with him or her.

Please note that the EFS-1 form is filled in by HR service employees and submitted to the SFR in the following cases within the time limits established by the legislation:

  • when applying for a job / concluding a civil law contract – the next working day after the registration of the employment contract / civil law contract;
  • in case of dismissal, suspension or resumption of the employment contract / termination of the civil law contract – the next working day after the issuance of the order / termination of the civil law contract;
  • when transferring and switching to EEB – the 25th day of the next month.


1. Convenient and quick access to information about labour activities

An employee can always find out information about his or her labour activities independently:

  • through the personal account on the SFR website, requesting the appropriate certificate in the section "Electronic employment book";
  • on the unified portal of State services, by ordering a statement through the search bar "Employment history".

In paper form, information about labour activity can be obtained from the employer (only about the period of work with this employer) or through an application to the territorial unit of the SFR or Multifunctional Public Services Centre.

2. Data transparency

Data on labour activity will always be under the control of the employee. If there are errors, they can be detected and reported to the employer. Filling in a paper employment book is controlled unilaterally by the company.

3. Additional remote employment opportunities

In case of remote employment of an employee, data on his or her labour activity and work experience can be submitted electronically without direct interaction with a potential employer.

In the case of a paper employment book, it will be necessary to transfer or receive it by mail or directly through the employer.

4. Simplified procedure for processing social payments and guarantees

When making social payments and guarantees, government authorities receive data on the employee's labour activity through interdepartmental interaction channels. When maintaining a paper employment book, it will be necessary to certify a copy of it.

5. High level of data security and safety

The probability of data leakage in electronic form is much lower. If there is a paper document, the data may be lost or damaged as a result of natural disasters or a number of other events (for example, moving the office to another address).

6. Additional features on the State services portal

If there is the EEB, an employee can use additional services on the portal (for example, to issue a foreign passport), while the presence of a paper form of an employment book does not imply this.

7. Cost savings

In the absence of a paper employment book, the employee does not need to transfer it to the employer. Thereby, the costs of its delivery will also be absent.

In addition, the employee will not need to spend financial resources for the registration of a paper employment book.


1. Simplification of document flow

When maintaining EEB, employers reduce the amount of paper work, since there is no need to fill in, register in logs, and store paper employment books.

2. Time savings

Entering information in the EEB format reduces the time spent working with the task when implementing mass HR events (for example, renaming an organization or transferring employees). In addition, the data will be processed faster and it also becomes easier to obtain them.

3. Working space savings

There is no need to organize storage places for paper employment books, purchase cabinets, store unclaimed employment books in the absence of paper employment books.

4. No errors when filling in the document by hand

The human factor is excluded when handwriting information from the employer's orders into paper employment books.

5. Completeness and accuracy of information

When storing information about labour activity in the SFR database, an employee will not be able to fake information about labour activity or hide previous employers ("lose" an employment book) – all information can be seen in the current mode.

6. Absence of a number of responsibilities in the maintaining of EEB

For violations and errors in filling in, accounting, storing and issuing paper employment books, the employer faces administrative and financial liability, including the risk of compensation for earnings during the delay in issuing the employment book. In the absence of a paper employment book, these risks are removed.

7. Concern for the environment

If there is a paper employment book, the employee requests a certified copy of it, which implies a considerable expenditure of paper (especially if there is a large staff in the company). The absence of a paper employment book will reduce such costs, which is an important figure of concern for the environment.

8. Saving on the purchase and issuance of inserts

If one of the sections of the paper book turns out to be completely filled in, then in this case it is necessary to purchase an insert for it. The insert is purchased by employees of the HR service, set it into the employment book, register it in the log of employment books and inserts and enter data on personnel activities of the employee if necessary.

The cost of the insert will be deducted from the employee's salary for profit tax purposes.

The presence of a formalized EEB will allow to avoid such actions and save on the costs of the company and the employee.


Undoubtedly, for employees who do not apply for a job for the first time, switching to EEB is a right, not an obligation.

However, over the past three years, the procedure for registration of EEB has become an integral part of the HR electronic document flow in the company. In addition, the registration of the EEB implies the occurrence of a number of advantages for the two parties of the employment relationships, which greatly simplify the procedure of their interaction. This implies that:

  • maintaining EEB is safely;
  • there is no need to incur additional costs when registering and maintaining EEB;
  • the number of errors and violations is reduced;
  • the parties to employment relationships are on equal terms when monitoring employment history.