India proposes WFH for manufacturing industry

The government is considering whether some activity under the manufacturing sector should also have the flexibility to work from home (WFH).
By: | January 21, 2021

Labour secretary Apurva Chandra said he is open to comments on whether this move should be made, and the government will only make a final decision after reviewing suggestions from relevant stakeholders.  

Releasing the draft model standing orders for services, manufacturing and mining sectors simultaneously on December 31, the labour ministry had proposed to formalise the WFH facility for the services sector alone, but left the manufacturing and mining sectors out of the model standing orders currently. Model standing orders are applicable in organisations having 300 or more workers. Comments should be submitted by January 31. 

In the draft model standing orders for the services sector, the labour ministry said, “Subject to conditions of appointment or agreement between employer and workers, an employer may allow a worker to work from home for such period or periods as may be determined by the employer.” 

As for the manufacturing sector, Rajiv Kapoor, member, CII national committee on industrial relations, said the sector should also be given the WFH facility since, with the increased digitisation and technology, many jobs like design and other office works in the manufacturing sector can now also be done from home. 

However, concurring with labour expert KR Shyam Sundar, he said individual organisations should have the final say on extending the WFH facility to their employees. 

READ: India proposes work-from-home rules for services sector

For the manufacturing sector, the standing order governing work conditions was applicable in organisations having 100 or more workers until last year. The threshold has been increased to 300 workers in the labour code on industrial relations approved in Parliament late last year, said Financial Express.