Explanatory Notes
concerning the bill on the Labor Codex of the Russian Federation,
introduced by Deputy of the State Duma O.V. Shein
The adoption of the new Labor Codex of the Russian Federation, which will replace the present code, will guarantee the
highest level of employment in the country, a curtailment of the “shadow” economy, and consequently of shady law, an increase
of the level of protection of workers, improvement of the interaction of the organizations representing the workers, especially
the trade unions, with the employers.
The conception of the labor code bill that I am introducing comes from the fact that the regulation of labor relations must be
based on developing and improving these relations as they have been historically formed, the legal expression of which is the
existing Labor Codex of the Russian Federation.  The bill reflects the gains of the workers in the more developed countries; it is
full of regulations, which reinforce the role of the Trade Union organizations and labor collectives in the management of
production and in the determination of the conditions of labor by means of the negotiation of collective contracts and
agreements.  It is expected that under present social economic and legal conditions the workers will protect their rights and
interests, principally by themselves, with the help of Unions and other representative organizations of the workers.
The conception of this bill is that the Labor Code should not so much proclaim and set the level and norms of the protection of
labor, benefits and compensation, as to stimulate the development of the economy, which creates the means for guaranteeing
the norms that are established.  The main condition of this is the accelerated introduction of the achievement of
scientific-technical progress, the systematic renewal of the technical basis, but this, as the experience of the countries advanced
in economic relationships has shown, assumes the broad participation in the direction of production of the immediate producers
of material goods, workers and labor collectives, through their representative organs.
As the fundamental principle of legislation on Labor, this bill proceeds from the premise that the the worker must be interested
in the results of his labor, the growth of productivity of labor and improvement of the quality of production.  For these are
·                    to maintain the equality of rights of both sides of the labor relationship;
·                    to strengthen the role of the unions in defending the interests of the workers;
·                    to ensure the principle that existing rights of wage workers, including those going over to a contractual labor
                     basis, will not deteriorate;

·                    Labor collective’s participation in the management of the enterprise and its control over the production and
                    financial activities of the employer.
In keeping with the goal of creating among the workers conditions for upholding their rights, the forbidding of strikes is not
permitted in the bill, and in the case of a breach by the administration of the rights of the worker, the worker is provided with
the right to stop work until the breach has been remedied.  Under these conditions the worker’s wages are maintained for the
entire period of the work stoppage caused by the above.  According to the bill no essential question of social economic life of
the enterprise will be decided without the participation of the trade union, including all cases of dismissal of workers.
It is proposed to increase the role of the collective agreements concluded between workers and administration, representing the
employer (the owner of the means of production), and to create an effective system of legal control to enforce the compliance
with the conditions of collective agreements.
Inherent in the bill is the clear logical exposition of the labor law, from abstract to concrete, from proclamation of rights to
guaranteeing them.  The bill is characterized by a high level of codification.  In the bill, the Law of the Russian Federation “On
Collective Contracts and agreements”, the Federal Law “On Procedures for resolution of collective labor disputes (conflicts)”,
and other legislation related to the sphere of labor relations are codified.
All of this makes the use of the Labor Codex easier for workers and owners.
The Labor Codex bill strictly distinguishes between the material conditions under which labor takes place, and which are
changed with changes in techniques and technology, and requirements for the protection of labor and techniques of safety,
which are brought to the labor-production relationship.
The new Labor Codex takes into account that under market conditions the main responsibility for maintaining labor rights of
workers cannot be, and should not be placed on the legal system.  Judges cannot cope with the avalanche of court claims by
workers demanding the judicial protection of their rights as workers.  There can only be one way out and this is provided in the
bill – to entrust to the representative organs of the workers, especially to the Unions, the fundamental responsibility of
organizing the civilized exchange of labor power with the support of collective contracts and using the legal rights stipulated by
Federal law “On resolution of collective labor disputes”.  In connection with this, the text of the current Federal law is included
in the Labor Codex bill as an inalienable part providing the overall legal integrity of the Labor Codex.
The present bill takes into account the negative experience resulting from taking away the unions’ right to administer social
insurance funds, in violation of law under the current labor codex.  The illegal removal of the unions from administration of these
funds has led to their bureaucratization, and has cut them off from those organizations, which are closest to the workers,
sensitive to their needs, and express their specific trade interests.  This bill confirms the right of the Unions to administer state
social insurance funds, which will reduce the possibility of abuse, and of inappropriate spending of funds. (p.15).  The
management of state resources which have been intended for the satisfaction of concrete needs of the workers is not the
responsibility of officials, but of those appropriate representative workers’ organizations.
The bill supports a series of new regulations, which improve the conditions of labor and payment of workers, raising the level of
their protection under the law.
1.                  For the first time in Russia, the bill legislatively establishes the transition from the 40 to the 35 hour work week (p. 39).
   Beyond that, vacation time will be accounted for on the basis of the 5 day work week, not the 6 day week, which was
   established in the Labor Codex of 1971, still in force today (p.62).  The reduction in the hours of work, which is the most
   important condition of social progress, has in fact not been realized in our country for four decades.  Accordingly, the bill I
   am introducing liquidates the lag between our domestic legislation and the level of the most developed countries. These
   measures will permit not only the increase of free time for the development of the workers, but will actually reduce
   unemployment, and, accordingly, the budgetary expenses by liberating a significant portion of the funds expended on
   maintenance of institutions assuring the employment and payment of benefits to the unemployed.  The bill will promote
   significant replenishment of the budget.
2.                  In the bill the right to work is linked indissolubly with the right of participation in the regulation of labor relations and the
   management of industry, without which it is impossible to introduce the achievements of scientific-technical progress.  Laws
   guaranteeing this right are contained in the legislation of France, Germany, Italy, Japan and other states.  The bill implements
   this right collectively – through the appropriate unions and other organs of self-management of the workers.  In order to do
   so the bill provides for the extension, compared to the current Labor Codex, of the rights of the unions.  The bill provides
   for maintenance of the unions with office space, communications, electronic technology and necessary documentation (p.
   17).  Without the participation of the unions no essential question of the functioning of the enterprise can be decided.  On
   the federal level the unions will be granted the right of legislative initiative (p. 15, this point will be actualized after
   appropriate amendment of the constitution of the Russian Federation).  All of this permits considering this bill, in essence, as
   a Trade Union bill.
3.                  A great deal of attention has been given in the bill to concluding and implementing collective agreements.  The bill
   forbids the cancellation of the collective agreement until  it is modified or replaced by a new one (p 221).  Therefore newly
   signed (or changed) agreements will not worsen the condition of workers in comparison with the previous agreement.
   Thus, the bill guarantees the preservation of progressive changes on the basis of further development of industry and in
   accordance with the Constitution, does not permit a deterioration of the condition of the workers.   In order that collective
   agreements represent the interests of the collective, the bill provides extensive opportunities for the members of the labor
   collective to read and discuss the draft agreements, and obligates the administration, as the representative of the employer
   (owner of the means of production), to make each newly hired worker familiar with the text of the collective agreement.
4.                  Having labor disputes be resolved at the enterprise takes this burden off the legal system, and in so doing also reduces
   state expenditures.  To facilitate the resolution of labor disputes, the bill provides for holding solidarity strikes (p. 270) and
   permits collective action in defense of individual labor rights.
5.                  To prevent forced labor, including work without timely and complete payment of wages, the bill
   ·                                            banning of strikes (p. 265);
   ·                                            lockouts (p. 273);
   ·                                            payments in kind;
-obligates the administration to pay interest on back wages for the entire period of their non-payment, at to the State Bank’s
rate and in accordance with the laws of Russian Federation;
- permits the worker to stop work when a violation of his rights by the administration occurs, until such time as the violation has
been eliminated, with payment at average wages (p.187);
6.                  In a general sum, the payment of tariff rates and the associated consistent payments, should not fall below 80% (p.
   170), which corresponds to the global progressive tendencies to the normalization of labor in accordance with the demands
   of technique and technology.
7.                  The bill, in providing criminal responsibility for violation of the labor legislation (p. 290), does not place primary stress
   on the individual worker’s litigation in courts, which are overloaded with cases, but rather on the collective defense by the
   workers of their labor rights and the resolution of disputed matters immediately at the enterprise in the spirit of social
Of all of the bills on the Labor Codex that have been introduced in the Duma, except for the bill of Avalian, this bill is the only
bill which will not worsen the condition of the workers, and therefore is in compliance with Part 2, Page 55 of the Constitution
of the Russian Federation, which establishes that “Laws may not be promulgated in the Russian Federation which remove or
reduce rights and freedoms of persons and citizens”.  The other bills worsen the rights of workers, and as such, are
unconstitutional.  This bill corresponds to international legal norms, bringing Russian Labor legislation to conformity with the
recommendations of the International Labor Organization.  It does not permit the violation of those conditions, established by
the United Nations on questions of labor.  With this bill, prepared by specialists of the Foundation of the Workers’ Academy
and the trade unions, we are not counting on the proclamation of rights of workers, but on the stimulation of the development of
industry which guarantees those rights, by means of bringing those rights under the management of the workers, principally
through the appropriate trade unions.

By expanding labor rights and the rights of workers to regulate labor relations, this Labor Codex will help to solve the present crisis, to guarantee stable development of the Russian economy and of all social spheres, and to extend and increase the receipt of funds into the state budget.  Accordingly, the passage of this law will not require

additional provision of funds from the federal budget.
The timetable for implementation of the new Labor Codex is to be coordinated with other essential stabilization measures and is
envisaged for 1 January 2002.

Deputy State Duma                                                           Oleg Shein