COVID-19: Central Govt departments, ministries allow work from home to staff, staggered timings suggested


NEW DELHI: Amidst an exponential growth in COVID-19 infections being reported in the country, various ministries of the Government of India have advised their employees to work from home and officers above the Under Secretary rank have been asked to report to the office in staggered timings.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Information and Broadcasting Ministry, and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has asked its officers to reach the office with staggered timings. Those who are living in COVID-19 containment zones can avoid coming to the office.

Earlier, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in February had already asked its staff to work from home with restricted required attendance.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has given three time slots for officers to work, from 9 am to 5:30 pm, 9:30am to 6 pm and 10 am to 6:30 pm.

The Ministry has also said that similar practice mat followed by autonomous bodies, media units and PSUs.

Similarly, the MHA in the latest written communication has said that all officers who attend office can stagger timings with entry into the office spread between 9 am to 10 am with corresponding office exit timings. This will also avoid the rush in commuting, as also in lifts and corridors.

Up to the Under-Secretary level, officers are allowed to work from home up to a minimum restricted attendance but above Under-Secretary there is no exemption from coming from the office.
DoPT in its circular dated February 13, 2021, has already said that no biometric attendance should be taken and also as far as possible meetings should be done virtually.

Officers residing in the containment zone should be work from home until their area de-notifies but must be available on phone and all means of communication.

According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s office memorandum, all the Director/Deputy Directors have to prepare a roster to ensure that fifty per cent of Group B and C employees may attend office every day and the remaining fifty per cent staff be advised to work from home, adding that attendance of one person per section should be maintained.

The memorandum further directed officials working from home to be available on the telephone or electronic means of communication at all times and further said that these officials should attend office if called for an exigency of work.

Stating that the working hours for all employees attending office should be staggered, the memorandum further suggested that three groups of employees may be formed and asked to attend office in the following timings – 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm and 10:00 am to 6: 30 pm. (ANI)