Work from home will be allowed in special economic zones (SEZs) for a maximum period of one year, and may be extended to maximum 50 per cent of total employees including contractual employees, the government has said in a notification. The department of commerce under the commerce ministry of the Indian government has notified a new rule 43A for WFH in Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006.
As per the notification, the decision was taken on demand from the industry for making a provision for a country wide uniform work from home policy. “The notification was issued on demand from the industry for making a provision for a country wide uniform Work From Home (WFH) policy across all Special Economic Zones. The Department of Commerce thereafter held several rounds of discussions with various stakeholders before firming up the notification," said the department of commerce in its notification issued on Tuesday, July 19.
The new rule provides work from home for a certain category of employees of a unit in SEZ, the government said.
Here are the Employees that can Avail the Benefits of the New Work from Home Rules:
i. Employees of IT/ ITeS SEZ units
ii. Employees, who are temporarily incapacitated
iii. Employees, who are travelling
iv. Employees, who are working offsite
As per the new notification, work from home provision can be extended to maximum 50 per cent of total employees including contractual employees of the unit, the government said. However, there is flexibility granted to Development Commissioner (DC) of SEZs to approve a higher number of employees (more than 50 per cent) for any bona-fide reason to be recorded in writing.
“Work From Home is now allowed for a maximum period of one-year. However, same may further be extended for a period of one year at a time by the DC on the request of units," the department of commerce said in its notification.
In respect of SEZ units whose employees are already working from home, the notification has provided a transition period of 90 days to seek approval, it further said.
The notification also state that the SEZ unit will be responsible to provide equipment and secured connectivity to those employees working from home under the new rule. “SEZ Units will provide equipment and secured connectivity for the purpose of WFH to perform authorized operations of the units and the permission to take out the equipment is co-terminus with the permission granted to an employee," it said.
The work from home rules are applicable to Special Economic Zones, which are areas subject to a set of different economic regulations than other regions within India. This is done to attract foreign direct investments. There are eight functional SEZs in India at the moment including — Santa Cruz (Maharashtra), Cochin (Kerala), Kandla and Surat (Gujarat), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Falta (West Bengal) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh).
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