The Central government has given its employees the option to work from home along with the staggered office timings. This new development has come amidst the alarming rise in cases of COVID-19 in Delhi.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday night has issued a notice to its employees in this regard. In its notice, the Home Ministry has asked its officers up to the level of under-secretary to avail the work from home option.
The Deputy Secretary and above-ranking officials have been asked to come to the office regularly. These officers have been given the option to stagger timing between 9 AM and 10 AM.
“In view of the unprecedented rise in the numbers of COVID-19 cases in Delhi, it has been decided to take measures to prevent its spread,” the MHA said in its order. However, the home ministry said all officers living in containment zones be exempted from attending office.
The Home Ministry has cleared that only 50% of staff need to attend office, stating that the staggered timing will avoid the rush in commuting as also in lifts and corridors.
Officers who will physically attend office will have to strictly follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour including wearing of a mask, physical distancing, use of sanitiser, and frequent handwashing with soap and water.
“Crowding in lifts, staircases, corridors, common areas including refreshment kiosk and parking areas is to be strictly avoided and meetings, as far as possible, to be conducted through videoconferencing,” the home ministry order stated.
The guidelines further suggest that those who do not attend office on a particular day will have to make themselves available on the telephone or through other means of communication at all times from their residence.
Recently the government proposed to formalise work from home (WFH) facility for the services sector but left the manufacturing sector outside the ambit of the concept for now.
“Subject to conditions of appointment or agreement between employer and workers, the employer may allow a worker to work from home for such period or periods as may be determined by the employer,” the labour ministry said in the draft model standing orders for the services sector.
However, regulatory parameters for WFH have not been prescribed.
Meanwhile, the national capital on Thursday recorded 16,699 fresh COVID-19 cases and 112 fatalities due to the disease. This comes a day after the national capital registered 17,282 new infections, its highest single-day spike till date.