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Govt to pave legal ways to protect working from home employees’ right

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
Govt to pave legal ways to protect working from home employees’ right

India is working out a comprehensive legal structure for work from home (WFH) that will define the liability of employers towards employees working from home.

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According to reports, the idea is to provide a legal framework for the new models of work that have emerged in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as work from home or hybrid working to protect employees from the highly infectious coronavirus.

Some of the options being considered include fixing work hours for employees and payment of additional expenses incurred by them towards electricity and internet usage because of working from home.

A top government official told media that discussions have started to ascertain ways in which India can regulate work from home, which is expected to become a norm going forward.

“A consultancy firm is being roped in to determine ‘future of work’ in the backdrop of the pandemic and the benefits it brings to stakeholders,” the official said.

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The government had in January this year formalised work from home for the services sector through a standing order, allowing employers and employees to mutually decide on the work hours and other service conditions. The move, however, was seen as a token exercise as the services sector, which largely comprises IT and ITeS, has already been following work from home to employees under special conditions.

The government now wants to bring a comprehensive formal structure for all sectors, the official said. The latest move comes close on the heels of other countries putting in place such frameworks. A recent law passed in Portugal outlines labour rules for greater protection of employees working away from the company premises. There is consensus within the government to bring legislation to give legal backing to work from home.

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