Remote Work and Platform Work: The Prospects for Legal Regulation in Russia

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Nikita Lyutov, Ilona Voitkovska



The restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus have intensified public debate about the proper legal format for two kinds of labour - working remotely and working via online platforms. The burden on workers in these two kinds of jobs has increased dramatically during quarantine, as many defects in the legislation and in enforcement practices for remote work and employment through online platforms have come to light. The State Duma is at present considering several legislative initiatives pertaining to remote work. This article analyses those initiatives and the outlook for modifying Chapter 49.1 of the Labour Code, specifically by clearly classifying types of remote work and simplifying electronic interaction between workers and employers, by entitling workers to time when they are not in continuous contact with their employers, by restricting dismissal of remote workers, and through other promising provisions. Certain other important gaps in the law, which will remain even after adoption of these new regulations for remote work, are also identified. The article analyses the feasibility of extending labour law to the rapidly growing sector of employment through online platforms. The proposal is that an explicit norm be included in the Labour Code to the effect that working via online applications through which the platform sets requirements for how the job is to be performed must be considered equivalent to working under an employment contract. In addition, the article concludes that it is necessary to adopt standards concerning the overall liability of a company - the owner of the online platform together with any intermediary companies through which agreements are concluded with online workers. Any more durable and fundamental solution for this new form of employment must include review of all the paradigms of employment and its subjects.

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