1st Time Ever, Work From Home Becomes Official Working Model As Per Govt Rules; IT, BPO Firms Can Now WFH Officially

Work From Home to be incorporated in establishments

The concept of “Work From Home” has been made popular both in the government and the private sector by the pandemic. The government, realizing that it is here to say, has decided to make it a part of efficient work culture in companies.

As a part of its draft model standing order for the service sector, the Union labour ministry has for the first time incorporated the ‘work from home’ option in establishments.

It is mandatory for companies to have a standing order that is approved by the state or central government. It is basically an employment contract that spell out the rules of conduct for employees in industrial establishments that have over 300 workers. 

The draft code states that “Subject to conditions of appointment or agreement between employer and workers, employer may allow a worker to work from home for such period or periods as may be determined by employer”.

This will apply to all those who are working in the industrial establishments covered under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020. The ministry notified the draft code in the public domain Friday for inviting comments and suggestions within 30 days.

Before the new labour codes were approved by Parliament in September 2020, there was one standing order across sectors.  However, this is the first time that the labour ministry has brought out standing orders for the service sector under the new Industrial Relations Code. On Friday, the ministry also published the draft model standing order for mining and manufacturing sectors. 

Standing Order Provides For Work Flexibility

It provides for flexibility to employees within the weekly working hour limit of 48 hours, which has been fixed under the labour code. 

It provides for shift working, where more than one shift may be worked in a department or departments or any section of a department of the industrial establishment at the discretion of the employer. “If more than one shift is worked, the worker shall be liable to be transferred from one shift to another,” the draft standing order states. 

Besides, it states that no shift working shall be discontinued without 21 days’ notice being given in writing to the workers prior to such discontinuance. 

Payment Of Wages & Medical Aid In Case Of Accidents

The order also specifies that all workers will have to be paid their salary on a working day before the expiry of the 7th day after the last day of the wage period. 

 “All payments including wages to the workers shall be paid by crediting in the bank account of the worker on electronic mode or digital form,” the draft states, adding that the company will also have to intimate the payment made to a worker through SMS or e-mail or WhatsApp or by issuing a slip.  

The code states that if a worker meets with an accident in the course of his employment, the employer shall at his expense make satisfactory arrangements for immediate and necessary medical aid to the injured worker and shall arrange for his further treatment, if considered necessary by the doctor attending on him. 

In case of termination of employment of a permanent worker, the employer will have to be given prior notice of one month or the worker shall be paid wages in lieu of such notice period, the draft states. Such an employee will also be paid his wages earned by him and other dues, if any, before the expiry of the second working day from the day on which his employment is terminated. 

The draft further states an employer can suspend a worker on charges of misconduct pending inquiry into complaints or charges. The inquiry will have to be completed within 90 days from the date of suspension. The worker shall be paid a subsistence allowance during the period of suspension, it adds.

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