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Vacation and vacation pay in Russia: FAQ

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Questions about vacation and vacation pay accrual are often raised, especially by foreign and young employees who have little experience in the matter. Below you will find the most frequently asked questions about vacation and vacation pay together with our answers.

My employer has asked me to sign a vacation schedule for next year. Is that normal?

Yes, it is. All companies must draw up in December a vacation schedule for the following year and submit it to their employees for signature.

The penalty imposed on companies is the same whether they fail to provide a vacation schedule or whether they fail to provide vacation to their employees. In such case: 

  • A fine from RUB 1,000 to RUB 5,000 is imposed on company officers (a warning is issued when this is the first time that such offense is committed);
  • A fine from RUB 1,000 to RUB 5,000 is imposed on individual entrepreneurs;
  • A fine from RUB 30,000 to RUB 50,000 is imposed on companies.

The Labor Code provides that employees go on vacation according to a vacation schedule. Employers must notify employees of upcoming vacation at least 2 weeks before the beginning of the vacation. Such notification must be signed by employees.

Can a scheduled vacation be canceled or postponed?

Yes, it is possible, and this happens often in practice as it is difficult to schedule vacation in advance for the whole year. Such changes should be specified in an appendix to the vacation schedule.

Employers must allow employees under the age of 18 and employees with several jobs to go on vacation at any time convenient for them regardless of the vacation schedule. Such employees book their vacation by submitting an application to their employer.

What needs to be done to book an unscheduled vacation?

A vacation application specifying the required vacation days should be submitted before any vacation.

This should be done as soon as possible so that both employers and employees can agree upon the vacation easily. We recommend submitting such application 2 weeks before the intended vacation.This way the employer has enough time to approve the vacation, hand over urgent matters to another employee and send information for vacation calculation and payment to the accounting department. Employers must transfer vacation pay to the employees’ bank account 3 days prior to the beginning of the employees’ vacation so, if employees do not submit their vacation application sufficiently in advance, their management could request documents supporting valid reasons for vacation. 

How is vacation pay calculated?

Vacation pay in Russia is calculated as follows: 

Average daily wages * Number of vacation days

Average daily wages depend on the earnings over the 12 months preceding the start of the vacation. Given that there are either 31, 30 or 28 days in calendar months, the average number of days in a month customarily used in Russia is 29.3 days. 

If an employee has been absent for any reason, then his/her average daily wages will be calculated differently.

Examples:

Tomi is employed by a company and earns a salary of RUB 100,000. Tomi takes 14 vacation days. Let’s consider 2 situations.

Example 1: Tomi has worked all the time without missing any days:

 

Example 2: Tomi was ill in March for 30 days (31 days in March) and was only 1 day at work. He received RUB 5,000 in March instead of RUB 100,000.

 

The amount of accruals decreases in the numerator, and the number of days decreases in the denominator so that the average daily wages increase slightly compared to 12 fully worked months. 

Bonuses are included in the numerator and increase the average daily wages and therefore vacation pay, without affecting the denominator.

How many vacation days can be taken in a year? 

As a general rule, paid vacation consists of 28 calendar days. Companies or state agencies offer sometimes longer paid vacation. The number of vacation days provided to employees is specified in employment contracts.

How to count vacation days and vacation pay if weekends and public holidays are included in vacations?

Usual calendar weekends (Saturday and Sunday) are included in total vacation duration.If a weekend is included in any booked vacation, vacation pay for 2 days will be paid for the weekend without changing the vacation duration. 

The Labor Code sets out that public holidays are not included in vacation. In practice, this means that 2 options are possible for this rule: 

  • Either the number of vacation days increases, i.e. the vacation is extended; 
  • Or employees enjoy their vacation as planned, and only public holidays are deducted from their vacation and are paid as vacation pay. 

It all depends on the wording of the vacation application. 

  1. If Tomi writes a vacation application in 2018  as follows: “I hereby request annual paid vacation from November01, 2018to November07, 2018”, then he will be on vacation as long as written in the vacation application, i.e. 7 days, but only 6 days will be deducted from his28 vacation days,and for these days he will receive vacation pay. The Day of National Unity (November4th)included in the vacation will be considered a public holiday rather than a vacation day.
  2. If Tomi writes as follows: “I hereby request annual paid vacationfor a duration of 7 calendar days from November01, 2018”,then 7 vacation days will be paid, and Tomi will be on vacation from November01, 2018 to November08, 2018. In this case, the public holiday during the vacation will be taken into account.

When, in the first instance, 1 day is not added to the vacation, the employer does not formally break the rule as the public holiday is taken into account and excluded from the vacation. 

In the second instance, Tomi requested a vacation of 7 calendar days starting from November 01, 2018.This does not allow excluding the public holiday from the vacation, and by virtue of the law, the employer must extend Tomi’s vacation.

Can vacations be split into two parts to save vacation days?

Given that the number of paid vacation days is limited, everyone wants to use them carefully and economically and would rather not include days off in them. We are often asked whether it can be done that way.

This is indeed possible as long as it is done in line with the Labor Code which requires taking a vacation of at least 14 days once a year. The remaining 14 vacation days can be disposed at the employees’ discretion.     

In which month is it better to take a vacation and why?

It is better to take a vacation in months with more working days because of the difference in how vacation days and basic salaries are paid. 

For example, Tomi needs to decide whether it is better for him to go on vacation in June or in August. 

In example 1 where Tomi’s average daily wages are RUB 3,410.29, his vacation pay for 14 days would be RUB 47,744.06.He would receive the same vacation pay whether he takes his vacation in June or in August.

And since basic salaries are calculated differently, the total amount paid will be different: 

  • There are 20 working days in June. Since Tomi receives a salary of RUB 100,000, each working day in June is worth RUB 5,000. His vacation consists of 4 days off and 10 working days for which he will receive less than RUB 50,000. 

If Tomi takes his vacation in June, his salary will amount to RUB100,000 – RUB 50,000 + RUB 47,744.06 = RUB 97,744.06

  • There are 23 working days in August. Each working day in August is worth RUB 4,347.82. RUB 43,479.20 will be deducted from his salary for his vacation days.

If Tomi takes his vacation in August, his salary will amount to RUB 100,000 – RUB 43,479.20 + RUB 47,744.06 = RUB 104,264.86

What can I do if I get sick during my vacation?

Let’s consider a rather unpleasant situation: Tomi took 14 vacation days for which he received the appropriate vacation pay, but he fell ill during that time. In other words, Tomi was ill while his vacation was being used up. What can be done in that case? The Labor Code allows Tomi to: 

Postpone his vacation. Such postponement must be approved by the company management, and the vacation schedule must be revised accordingly. In this case, vacation payments will be set-off against sick leave payments and salary. In case of overpayment of vacation pay, the employee is to return the overpaid amount to the company’s settlement account;
Extend his vacation by the number of sick days. If Tomi does not submit an application for postponement, the vacation will be extended automatically. In this case, it is necessary only to submit a sick leave note.    

Are vacation days still accrued during maternity leave?

When an employee is on maternity leave, she must first submit a maternity leave note. As a rule, the duration of maternity leave is 140 days and, depending on certain circumstances, can be more up to 210 days. Vacation days continue to be accrued during maternity leave which is followed by childcare leave for up to 1.5 years and for up to 3 years at the employee’s request. Vacation days are not accrued during childcare leave.

Is it possible not to take any vacation at all? 

The Labor Code prohibits the non-provision of vacation for two consecutive years. But employees can take only some of their vacation days and carry over the remaining days to the next period. Carried over days are accumulated, and although it is difficult to get their monetary equivalent in lieu, two options are still possible:

  • Employers must compensate unused vacation days upon dismissal;
  • Submit an application for payment of Saturdays and Sundays, as well as public holidays. In this case, the employer will pay vacation pay for days that are not actually worked, and because of the 14-day rule, it is not possible to take the entire amount of vacation pay instead of all 28 vacation days.

Do you still have questions related to vacation pay, HR or payroll? Feel free to contact us!

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