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Advice on regulations

Advice on regulations

PUBLICATIONS \ 17.02.2020

The Federal Labour and Employment Service (referred to in Russian as “Rostrud”) has published new regulations for employers and employees to obtain advice from the government agency. Ekaterina Lutenko, Acsour’s internal auditor, examined the updated document, highlighted its main provisions and answered questions related to the procedure for obtaining advice from Rostrud.

Taking into account that even the slightest violation may lead to an employer becoming embroiled in proceedings with the State Labour Inspectorate, disputes with employees and ultimately requirements to pay sizable fines, it is necessary to know about all the “pitfalls” associated with the interpretation and application of the provisions of employment legislation.

In its order No. 230 dated August 23, 2019, the Federal Labour and Employment Service approved new administrative regulations that determines key rules for advising and informing employers and employees about labour issues. It entered into force on December 17, 2019. The order specifies the procedure for advising on issues relating to employment legislation.

In particular, the document lists the range of applicants who may be provided with advice, defines the format for employers and specialists to apply to Rostrud bodies, specifies the exact timeframe for providing the service and the necessary list of documents for obtaining advice, defines what the results of advice should look like, and specifies the cost of the state service. The reasons for a refusal to accept documents for the obtaining of advice are also listed, as are the grounds for a refusal to give advice or a suspension of advice.

The procedure for obtaining the service is described in more detail on the website of Rostrud, while the same information may be obtained on the  State Services website. Let us try to anticipate readers’ comments and give answers to questions that they may have.

Applicant

Being an employer, can I apply to Rostrud for advice as an accountant?

Yes, you can. The state service is provided to both employees and employers, as well as their representatives. In addition, advice can be provided to other persons, such as individual entrepreneurs, foreigners or people without citizenship.

Method of receipt

How exactly can I as an employer) or our employees receive information about employment legislation?

There are several ways to obtain advice. A personal application can be made – to do this, it is necessary to make an appointment at the local branch of Rostrud, which is done either on its official website, by telephone or via the State Services website. A question may also be asked by written request through the mail, including by e-mail, or through a legal representative. Finally, the third option is for information to be obtained by sending a request in electronic form via the official website of Rostrud or via the State Services website. However, the service may be obtained in electronic form only by registering in your personal account on the State Services website.

Documentation

What documents should be submitted to the inspectors of Rostrud when an application is made?

The reason for receiving advice is a written or electronic application sent to Rostrud. The document must contain mandatory particulars. Do not forget to specify the full name if an employee applies for the service, or the full name of the company if your company needs advice. Also, specify the postal address to which the clarifications will be sent, and the local body of Rostrud to which the request should be sent. Then the application should specify the question itself that should be answered. Traditionally, all applications bear the personal signature of the applicant, and this document is not an exception – your signature is still required on it, as is the date when the document was drawn up.

In the regulations, the government agency specified within what timeframe an application will be registered – Rostrud’s employees will have not more than three working days for registration from the date when the application was received. If the document was sent in electronic form, the applicant will receive a confirmation of its delivery on the date of registration of the application on the State Services website.

The reason for starting the performance of a service at a personal appointment is a direct appeal to the Rostrud. In this case, it is not necessary to draw up a written application. Please note that the government agency does not have the right to require any other documents from applicants other than the application.

The more complicated the request, the higher the probability of obtaining the same answer; moreover, the answer may be incomplete. Most often, these may be responses that reflect the provisions of employment legislation, but without a clear explanation of the specific issues in terms of how to apply them in the situation at hand.

Assignment of the task

How best to describe the essence of the question; what to pay attention to?

The more correctly the application is made, the more complete the response you will receive as part of the advice. Therefore, one of the first rules when drawing up an application is to clearly formulate all the issues that need to be considered. The more complicated the request, the higher the probability of obtaining the same answer; moreover, it may be incomplete. Most often, these may be responses that reflect the provisions of employment legislation, but without a clear explanation of the specific issues in terms of how to apply them in the situation at hand. Or worse, an answer may not be given at all. This may happen because the area of the questions does not fall within the competence of Rostrud, or the applicant has already previously asked the questions.

In order to avoid this course of events, I recommend adhering to the following rules.

To determine exactly which rule of employment legislation will be touched upon when making a request – payment for labour, resting time rules, whether there is financial liability, etc.

To describe the situation that has arisen in the company, and based on this, formulate questions. Remember! Brevity and simplicity are valued in the presentation of an application, because the inspector responding to the request should understand its essence as clearly as possible. Only in this case will you be provided with an exhaustive answer.

The Competence of Rostrud

The new regulation provides a list of issues on which the government agency provides advice, such as:

  • the procedure for entering into, changing, and terminating labour contracts;
  • the work-rest regime of employees;
  • payment for and standards of labour;
  • the provision of guarantees and compensations to employees;
  • the procedure for the imposition of disciplinary sanctions;
  • financial liability of employees and employers;
  • regulation of the labour of specific categories of employees, such as the labour of minors, part-time work, etc.;
  • the procedure for resolving labour disputes;
  • employees’ participation in the management of an organization;
  • other labour issues.

If an employee or employer personally attends the local branch of Rostrud, they will receive advice after waiting for their turn. The time for communicating with the inspector is 15 minutes; previously the duration of the advice was 30 minutes, but this period was reduced in the updated regulations.

You should think in advance whether the questions you want to ask are within the competence of Rostrud. For example, issues associated with the payment of personal income tax on employees’ income and the accrual of insurance premiums fall within the responsibility of the tax authorities.

In the request, try not to specify unnecessary information that may distort the essence of the request itself. Otherwise, this will affect the content of the answer. It is possible to make a reference to the articles of the Labour Code and other statutory enactments that you rely on when drawing up a request in advance. This will make it considerably simpler for the inspector who will respond to you to understand the problem.

Await an answer

How long do I have to wait for an answer from Rostrud’s inspectors?

The deadline for feedback from the government agency depends on the method used to contact Rostrud. Thus, if an employee or employer personally attends the local branch, they will receive advice after waiting for their turn. The time for communicating with the inspector is 15 minutes; previously, the duration of the advice was 30 minutes, but in the updated regulations this period was reduced. If an applicant asks for an explanation of the subtleties of labour law in a written request, the deadline for a response will be 30 days from the date when the application is registered. The same period is designated for a response to an application sent in electronic form.

The form of the response depends directly on the method used to contact Rostrud. If an employee or employer personally came to a branch of Rostrud, it is obvious that the advice will be provided orally. During the appointment, representatives of the Rostrud clarify the nature and the substance of questions, and then give an answer to them in an intelligible form.

At the same time, if an applicant wants to receive additional information that may not be considered part of the process of a personal appointment owing to the specific features of such information, he or she may issue an application specifying the preferred method for obtaining detailed information. The application is registered by an authorized employee of Rostrud and is transferred for further consideration within 30 minutes after receiving it. Then the document is included in the general process of the consideration of written requests and is processed within 30 days.

As a result of a written request, the applicant receives explanations in written or electronic form on the issues raised in the application. If the nature of the questions contained in the request does not fall within Rostrud’s competence, it may be redirected to another government agency within 7 days after the application is registered.

If the request was sent via State Services, a response may be received in the form of a message in your personal account, in the “My applications” section.

Expenses for assistance

Is there a state fee for obtaining advice?

No, the advice to applicants is provided free of charge, regardless of the form of their application.

Grounds for a refusal

What are the reasons why Rostrud may refuse to provide information?

The Regulations do not specify a list of reasons for which an applicant may be refused provision of this state service. However, Rostrud may refuse to accept an application if it is not properly drawn up. The reasons for a refusal may be:

  • the submission of an application by a person who is not authorized to do so, for example, if the signature of the General Director is replaced by the signature of a person who is not directly related to the company;
  • non-compliance with the requirements for drawing up a request and the absence of mandatory information in it;
  • the text of the application is presented in a form that is difficult to understand or is unreadable;
  • the application contains questions that have already been answered in previous explanations to the employee or company in question (in this case, the applicant receives a notification);
  • the text of the application contains obscene or offensive expressions.

If the document is drawn up correctly, according to the provisions of the regulations, Rostrud does not have the right to refuse to provide advice, including if the request was sent in electronic form.

Ekaterina Lutenko

Internal Auditor