Relations between employers and employees are primarily regulated by the Labor Code of the Russian Federation (Labor Code).
Employment relations are subject to the Labor Code, other legal acts of the Russian Federation containing labor regulations (including local acts adopted by the employer), the employer’s collective agreement (if any) and direct employment contracts with the employee.
Employees shall enjoy the rights and benefits stipulated by Russian labor legislation. Russian labor legislation also governs the types of employment contracts and conditions of their conclusion, amendment and termination.
The Labor Code establishes an important provision ensuring employee rights, according to which, employment contracts may not worsen the position of employees as compared to labor legislation.
Under the Labor Code, “social partnership” is defined as the system of relations between employees, employers, state and local authorities aimed at regulating and balancing the interests of employees and employers in the area of labor relations. The following areas of interest, among others, are regulated:
- Negotiation of collective agreements;
- Mutual consultation on employment issues;
- Participation of employees in the management of the company;
- Participation of parties in pre-court negotiations.
A collective agreement can be concluded between an employer and employees. The law does not require a collective agreement if neither party requests it. Trade unions normally represent employees, when such an agreement is concluded.
The employer is represented by the general director or his/her authorized representative(s).
The law allows the parties to define the content of a collective agreement independently; however, they are not likely to be less favorable than those of the Labor Code. The collective agreement is subject to registration with the appropriate State Labor Office.
Role of trade unions
According to the Labor Code, the employer should consider the opinion of the trade union(s) on certain matters (if such a union exists). Trade unions in Russia are more typically formed at a company level rather than at industry level.