India proposes work-from-home rules for services sector

The Ministry of Labour & Employment has made the proposal to formalise work from home (WFH) regulations for the services sector in the new year.
By: | January 7, 2021

“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,” India’s labour ministry said in the draft model standing orders for the services sector. However, the regulatory framework for WFH has not been defined. 

This is the first time such regulations have been proposed for the services sector. The standing orders will be applicable in organisations having 300 or more workers. 

Separately, the labour ministry has also issued draft model standing orders for the manufacturing and the mining sectors seeking comments from stakeholders. 

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, according to Financial Express. 

READ: India: 50% of Delhi public employees to WFH

Labour expert K R Shyam Sundar said, “Without proper regulations for WFH, employees will be left at the mercy of the employers. Employees’ bargaining power will be reduced. WFH should also figure in the model standing orders for the manufacturing sector. The concept of WFH should be left for the individual establishment to decide, whether it is in the manufacturing or in the services sector.”