India’s Commerce Ministry Announces Rules for Working from Home

India’s Commerce Ministry Announces Rules for Working from Home

The Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday that special economic zone units allow work-from-home (WFH) for up to one year and can be expanded to 50 percent of the workforce.

The Department of Commerce has notified WFH of new Rule 43A in the 2006 Special Economic Zone Rules.

The ministry said the circular was issued at the request of the industry to develop a nationally unified WFH policy for all Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The new regulations provide work from home for certain categories of employees in a unit in a SEZ.

These include employees of IT/ITeS SEZ units; temporarily incapacitated employees; employees who are traveling and working offsite, it added.

It added that WFH can be expanded to up to 50% of the total workforce, including contract workers at the unit.

“Work from home is now allowed for a maximum period of one year. However, DC may extend it for a further one year depending on the unit’s request,” the ministry said.

For SEZ units where employees are already working from home, the notice provides for a 90-day transition period to seek approval.

“The SEZ unit will provide the WFH with equipment and secure connections to carry out the unit’s authorized operations, and the permission to take out the equipment is common to the permission granted to the employees,” the ministry said.

It also said that the Special Economic Zone’s Development Commissioner (DC) has the flexibility to approve a larger number of employees (over 50%), documenting any valid reasons in writing.

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