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Checking coronavirus: Centre orders work from home, staggered working hours for its staff

An order issued by the Personnel Ministry directed the Heads of Departments (HoDs) to ensure that 50 per cent of Group B and C employees are required to attend office every day.

Published: 19th March 2020 03:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2020 03:41 PM   |  A+A-

Workers clean apparatus in the wake of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 at the Parliament's main entry gate during the ongoing Budget Session in New Delhi Thursday March 19 2020. (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Central government on Thursday allowed 50 per cent of its employees to work from home and the remaining to attend office every day besides implementing different time slots for working hours in its effort to further check the spread of the coronavirus disease.

An order issued by the Personnel Ministry directed the Heads of Departments (HoDs) to ensure that 50 per cent of Group B and C employees are required to attend office every day and the remaining 50 per cent staff is instructed to work from home.

"All HoDs are advised to draft a weekly roster of duty for Group B and C staff and ask them to attend office on alternate weeks.

While deciding the roster for the first week, HoDs are advised to include officials who are residing in close proximity to their office or use their own transport to travel to the offices," it said.

The order further said the working hours for all employees who attend office on a particular day should be staggered.

It suggested that three groups of employees be formed and asked to attend office during three time slots -- 9 AM to 5.30 PM, 9.30 AM to 6 PM and 10 AM to 6.30 PM, the ministry said.

"The officials who are working from home on a particular day as per the roster drawn up should be available on telephone and electronic means of communication at all times. They should attend office if called for any exigency of work," it said.

These instructions shall not apply to the offices and employees engaged in essential/emergency services and those directly engaged in taking measures to control the spread of COVID-19, the ministry said.

The Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) may issue similar instructions regarding financial institutions and public sector undertakings, it said.

The decision came after the Personnel Ministry on Tuesday asked all central government departments to take precautionary measures.

"Discourage, to the maximum extent, entry of visitors in the office complex. Routine issue of visitor/temporary passes should be suspended with immediate effect. Only those visitors who have proper permission of the officer who they want to meet should be allowed after being properly screened," it had said.

All government departments were asked to install thermal scanners as feasible as well as mandatorily place hand sanitisers at the entrances of government buildings.

"Those found having flu-like symptoms may be advised to take proper treatment/quarantine etc," the ministry had said.

It said meetings, as far as feasible, should be done through video conferencing.

All departments were asked to avoid non-essential official travel of its staff, undertake essential correspondence on official email and avoid sending files and documents to other offices, to the extent possible, and facilitate delivery and receipt of postal documents at the entry points of the office buildings as far as practicable.

"Close all gyms/recreation centres/creches located in government buildings. Ensure proper cleaning and frequent sanitization of the workplace, particularly of the frequently touched surfaces," the ministry said.

The order advised the leave sanctioning authorities to sanction leave whenever any request is made for self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.

"Advise all employees who are at higher risk, i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions, to take extra precautions. The ministries/departments may take care not to expose such employees to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public," the ministry had said in a communique to all the ministries.

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