According to the explanatory note to the draft law, legally valid communications are any acts of communication between the parties of an employment contract, committed by them in order to transfer certain legally significant information. Transfer of a communication of any content (application, notification, application, permission, demand, etc.) from one party of the employment contract to the other party entails the relevant legal consequence provided by the employment law. The absence of rules in the Labor Code of the Russian Federation that determine the procedure for transfer legally significant communications, including cases where such communications are not transferred in form of a paper document, creates uncertainty in labor legal relations.
The Bill proposes to supplement the Labor Code of the Russian Federation with new articles 15.1 - 15.3 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, that consolidate general provisions on legally significant communications.
In particular, it is proposed to establish that the exchange of messages can be carried out not only in the personal presence of the employee and the employer in one place or when sending a message to a party to the employment contract in the form of a paper document using postal service, but also with the use of electronic or other technical means. At the same time, the requirements to the said means shall be determined by the Government of the Russian Federation, unless otherwise provided for by the employment contract, local normative act or collective agreement.
The employer is obliged to provide the storage of all legally significant communications received from an employee and copies of legally significant communications sent to the employee in accordance with the procedure provided by the local act.
It is also provided that the rules on legally significant communications contained in the employment contract (as well as in the local regulatory act, collective agreement or contract) should not worsen an employee's position in comparison with the rules established by the Labour Code.
It is established that legally significant communications with which the employment law or contract of employment involves the emergence, change or termination of employment relations, entail such consequences for the recipient of the relevant communication from the moment of its delivery.
The notice will be considered delivered also in cases if it was received by the party to the employment contract, to which it was sent, but due to circumstances depending on it, was not handed over to it or the party to the employment contract did not familiarize itself with it.
In order to identify the party to the labor contract, which transfer a message, any method may be used to reliably identify the person who sent the message, including a basic electronic signature or advanced electronic signature.
If the employment contract or a local normative act contains a condition on exchange of communications by electronic or other technical means, an employee shall be entitled to withdraw from such condition at any time after conclusion of the employment contract.
An employee can refuse a condition on exchange of communications by electronic or other technical means at any time by sending a notice to the employer by mail or by sending information via the telecommunications network, including e-mail, as well as by personally submitting a notice of refusal at the employer's location.
The actualization of this right by an employee shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of the employment contract and may not serve as a basis for termination of the employment contract at the initiative of the employer.
The draft law is expected to come into force on 1 October 2020.