After employees of Paytm and Google tested positive for coronavirus and the disease Covid-19, many other companies have now allowed their employees to either work remotely from their homes or to even go on paid leaves.
While there is no law governing work from home for employees, according to Medianama, IT companies, which fall under the category of other service providers (OSPs), have to deposit INR 1 Cr with the department of telecommunication (DoT) to allow employees this facility. It is worth mentioning that OSPs include international call centres, business processing outsourcing centres (BPO), knowledge process outsourcing centres, medical transcription companies, among others.
But with the number of coronavirus cases increasing rapidly in the country, DoT has now allowed companies to grant work from home to their employees without depositing any fees. Additionally, these companies can now also provide work from home to employees without seeking permission from the DoT.
In a notification dated March 13, DoT said that it has decided to grant the relaxations till April 30, 2020. The notification was posted by IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Twitter. Prasad said that in view of the concerns related to coronavirus outbreak and on the request of industry body NASSCOM, DoT has provided for certain exemptions that will facilitate the Indian IT companies to offer work from home to their employees.
In view of the concerns related to #CoronaOutbreak and on the request of @nasscom today @DoT_India has provided for certain exemptions that will facilitate the Indian IT companies to offer work from home to their employees. pic.twitter.com/0QktqVEje9
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) March 13, 2020
Companies will have to release information such as remote workers’ names, addresses, and static IP addresses to local offices of the DoT. They will also have to maintain call records of employees for a period of one year as well. In case of violations, the OSPs will be fined INR 5 Lakhs per work from home location which will come under the radar of DoT for breaking the law.
NASSCOM’s chairman Keshav Murugesh said that the industry body will encourage its members to adhere to the amended clauses and prioritise their implementation. Murugesh added that the companies should leverage telepresence and video conferencing to enable seamless engagement while ensuring that there is minimal disruption to the business.
“We also recognise that the health and safety of employees are of paramount concern. The objective here is to ensure employee well-being while hedging a negative impact on the industry’s overall productivity,” he added.