"Work from home" rule coming soon

Image credit : Special Arrangement / Manorama Online

New Delhi: In a major move that could pave the way for a new work environment in the country,the central government is contemplating a legal framework for work from home system.

It is learnt that the proposed guidelines will have provisions that clearly specify the responsibilities of the employers in matters of those working from home.

Based on the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government intends to initiate actions keeping in mind the future work environment.

While framing the new guidelines, the government would also consider putting in place a system where some people can work from home while others can discharge their duties from the office.

The Centre will take into consideration the timing for work from home, leave, availability of high-speed internet, power supply, internet and the cost involved for facilitating the above requirements and other service and salary conditions, before finalising the provisions and rules.

The government is thinking of appointing a consultancy for preparing a detailed plan and framework.

The work from the home system in the service sector was made formal by the Central government in January.

In this connection, the labour ministry had issued a standing order which was applicable for establishments having more than three employees.

The ministry had recommended that the employer and employees should finalise the working hours and other matters through mutual agreement.

This system is being followed in IT and allied sectors currrently.

The new guidelines would be finalised after going through the profile and job character in all sectors.

Similar rules, laws and system implemented in other countries would also be studied in detail.

The authorities concerned said that discussions were in progress in connection with the new system and it would take time to give a final shape to the plan.


Data safety a big challenge
At the moment "work from home" system is being implemented considering the convenience of companies. However, this would change once the new rules come into force.

While handling confidential matters from home the possibility of secret information getting compromised and issues related to data safety, would be deliberated and factored in.

According to a law passed in Portugal last month, the additional expenditure on the internet and power of those working from home, will be borne by the companies.

After the office hours, unless it is an emergency matter, the companies cannot direct employees in connection with issues related to their work.

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