What Employers Should Remember in Case of a Labor Inspection
The principal functions of state supervision and control over compliance with Russian labor law regulations are vested in the Federal Labor and Employment Service. It acts directly and through its territorial bodies — state labor inspectorates.
The state labor inspectorate conducts scheduled (comprehensive and special-purpose) and unscheduled inspections of employers.
An employer should remember that the actual extent of an inspection depends on its purpose. The inspection may be of a comprehensive nature, and practically the entire current document flow and/or working conditions would come under the close attention of the state labor inspector. Special-purpose inspections are also common when only the areas pertaining to the object of the inspection are checked: sick leave processing, personnel files, etc. The employer is not obligated to present documents not falling within the scope of the inspection.
An unscheduled inspection is initiated inter alia on the basis of a complaint filed by a dismissed employee against the employer or upon expiration of the term for carrying out a previously issued order to rectify a revealed violation. The circumstances of the particular case or the revealed violation are to be examined.
Scheduled inspections are generally conducted not more than once in three years. Exceptions are made for employers in the areas of health care, education and social care — two or more times in three years. The basis for carrying out a scheduled control measure is the employer’s inclusion in the annual plan of inspections, prepared by several Russian state control authorities, including the labor inspectorate. For Moscow, it is publicly accessible on the official Internet web site of the City Prosecutor’s Office.
In general, an organization is included in the annual inspection plan after three years have gone by since:
• the state registration of the respective entrepreneur or legal entity;
• the completion of a scheduled inspection;
• the beginning of the employer’s business operations in an area for which a notification procedure is stipulated.
So as to avoid the tricky situation of an unexpected scheduled inspection, we advise checking published lists of organizations selected for a labor inspector visit. However, if an inspection is scheduled, the employer is notified at least three business days prior to its start.
When the labor inspector arrives at the employer’s office, he/she must present official ID along with the order. Please note that labor supervision measures may be carried out only by the official specified in the respective order on conducting an inspection. The total duration of such measures should not exceed 20 business days; and may be extended for no more than 20 business days.
When conducting an inspection, the inspector first examines the way that employees are paid, as many organizations continue to pay salaries once a month and not twice as stipulated by Russian legislation. Other identified violations include a lack of employer-approved local regulatory acts, in particular mandatory internal work regulations, as well as a lack of employment contracts, or an absence of labor record books, leave schedules, and so on. The issue of engaging employees to work on days-off and official holidays also deserves attention.
The liability for violating labor legislation is established by the Code of Administrative Offences in the form of an administrative fine or administrative suspension of operations for legal entities. For a major violation of labor rules the offenders may be held liable under the Criminal Code.
Court practice contains precedents of employers’ appealing of decrees issued by labor inspectorates on imposition of administrative sanctions. This procedure is rather long and expensive. Therefore, it is most efficient for an employer to duly comply with the requirements of the Russian labor legislation.