Govt’s Push For Work From Home: 50% Employees In SEZs Allowed 100% Work From Home!
Units in a special economic zone that want to allow work-from-home will have to formulate a scheme and take approval from development commissioners concerned.
Application for approval
The units will also have to submit an application to their development commissioners, notifying the adoption of the scheme, at least 14 days in advance from the date of implementation.
The application for approval will be processed and approved within 15 days.
If no communication is received by the unit within 15 days, the scheme will be assumed approved.
A new rule namely Rule 43A provides for a country-wide uniform Work From Home (WFH) policy across all Special Economic Zones.
WFH will now be allowed for a maximum period of one-year which can be extended to maximum 50% of total employees including contractual employees.
Development Commissioners of SEZs have the power to extend it beyond one-year and for more than 50% of total employees.
Categories of affected employees
The new rule provides work from home for certain categories of employees of a unit in SEZ:
- Employees of IT/ITeS SEZ units
- Employees, who are temporarily incapacitated
- Employees, who are travelling
- Employees, who are working offsite
SEZ Units will have to provide equipment and secured connectivity for WFH so that employees can perform authorised operations of the units.
Abhishek Jain, Partner Indirect Tax, KPMG in India, said the government has issued much awaited SOPs regarding WFH provisions for SEZ units.
These guidelines will offer procedural clarity for businesses and also ensure a uniform process is followed across SEZs in the country.
This will help businesses avoid the tedious talks of undertaking different processes for different SEZ jurisdictions.
Further, the Centre’s decision helped IT companies retain key employees who were seeking flexibility.
Many large companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys among others have units in SEZs.
What are SEZs?
As earlier mentioned, the new rules apply to Special Economic Zones, which are areas subject to a set of different economic regulations than other regions within India.
They are established with the aim of attracting foreign direct investments.
Presently 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).