New work from home rules in 2021? Govt readies proposal to formalise WFH facility for services sector

The government has proposed to formalise the Work from Home Facility (WFH) for the service sector but has left the manufacturing sector out of the scope of the concept for now. The Ministry of Labor said in the draft regulation for the service sector, "Subject to the conditions of appointment or agreement between the employer and the workers, the employer may allow the worker to work from home for a period or periods that the employer can specify ". However, WFH regulatory standards have not been established.

Furthermore, it has also issued draft model standing orders for the manufacturing and mining sectors for stakeholder feedback.

Model standing orders establish standards for the conditions of service and behavior of employees in an organization. There are no such standards for the service sector yet, as they are being proposed for the first time. These standing orders will apply to organizations with 300 or more workers.

As for the manufacturing sector, the regulations governing working conditions were applicable in organizations with 100 or more workers until last year. The threshold was raised to 300 workers in the Labor Relations Act, which was passed by Parliament late last year.

Labor expert KR Shyam Sundar said: "Without proper WFH regulations, employees will be at the mercy of employers. Employees' bargaining power will be reduced. WFH must also be included in standing orders typical of the manufacturing sector. The WFH concept should be left to the individual company to decide, whether in manufacturing or in the service sector.

Rajiv Kapoor, a member of the CII National Industrial Relations Committee, also said: "Manufacturing should also have a WFH facility, but I suggest leaving it to the discretion of an individual company, whether in the manufacturing or service sector. With the advent of digitization and technology, a lot of jobs can now be done in the manufacturing sector through private design and other office work. "

Standing orders for the manufacturing and services sectors stipulate that an employer may suspend the worker pending investigation or investigation of complaints or misconduct charges against him. Misconduct includes falling asleep at work and accepting gifts from subordinates, among others. However, this investigation or investigation generally must be completed within ninety days from the date of suspension. The worker receives a subsistence allowance during the suspension period, as long as he does not work elsewhere during the suspension period.

Wages are paid electronically and within the seventh day of the pay period for which wages are paid. A worker may be transferred from one country to another according to transportation policy and employer requirements from one store or department to another, or from one station to another, or from one industrial facility to another under the same employer. The employee in question must have a reasonable time to join and pay the travel allowance, including the transportation fee.

All groups of workers (permanent and temporary, apprentices, testers, juniors and employees for a fixed period) must use an identification card or card with the full name, employee number, blood group, mobile phone number, if applicable, and a recent photograph.

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