1. Definition of an employment contract
An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and an employee, whereby the parties have the following general duties.
а) General duties of employer:
- to provide a job to an employee as pre-determined in the contract work-specific duties;
- to ensure working conditions stipulated by the labor laws, by collective bargaining agreements, by internal regulation and employment contract;
- to pay wages to an employee timely and in full.
b) General duties of employee:
- to carry out the employment contact personally;
- to observe internal rules of employer.
2. Contents of an employment contract
There are two groups of conditions of the employment contract:
а) Mandatory (as required by law);
b) Additional (optional).
Mandatory conditions shall be included in any employment contract. Such conditions e.g. are the following:
- place of work;
- specialties, qualifications or positions of the employee (work-specific duties);
- amount of wages.
Optional conditions are not necessarily to be included in an employment contract and may be e.g. as follows:
- non-disclosure of secrets of company;
- new-hire trial period;
- flexible hours of work, etc.
3. Duration of employment contract
An employment contract may be concluded:
а) for an indefinite period;
b) for a specified period not exceeding five years (fixed-term employment contract).
In most cases an employment contract is concluded for an indefinite period. A fixed-term employment contract is concluded only when employment relations cannot be established for an indefinite period in the cases stipulated by the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, e.g.:
- for the term of execution of the duties of an employee who is on a leave of absence e.g. owing to a maternity leave;
- for the term of performance of temporary (up to two months) or seasonal work;
- with persons who are sent to work abroad.
In the several cases envisaged by the Labor Code of the Russian Federation a fixed-term employment contract may be concluded by agreement of the parties to the employment contract, e.g.:
- with the heads and chief accountants of company;
- with students;
- with persons hired to work for employers who are small businesses having up to 35 employees (or 20 employees in the area of retailing and everyday services);
- with old-age retirees hired;
- with persons who are allowed exclusively temporary work in accordance with a medical certificate;
- with creative employees of the mass media, cinematographic and concert companies, theatres, circuses.
It is important that an employment contract concluded for a definite period of time in the absence of sufficient reasons for this may be established by a court as to be concluded for an indefinite period of time.
4. Procedure for concluding an employment contract
An employment contract must be concluded in writing.
Hiring of an employee is legalized by an order of an employer, issued on the basis of an employment contract signed. Contents of the order issued by an employer shall comply with the terms of an employment contract.
At the same time an employment contract that was not drawn up in writing is considered to be concluded if the employer is admitted to work with the knowledge of at the order of the employer or his representative.
If the employee is actually admitted to work, the employer shall be obliged to draw up an employment contract with him in writing no later than within three working days from the day when the employee was actually admitted to work.
5. Amendments to an employment contract
In most cases amendments to employment contract are allowed upon agreement of parties. This agreement also shall be concluded in writing
In the certain exceptional cases as provided by the Labor Code of the Russian Federation the employment contract may be amended on the initiative of the employer (e.g. on the grounds related to changes in organizational conditions of the company).