Centre weighs new WFH rules for SEZs to balance needs of units, developers

The center is looking into drafting new work-from-home (WFH) rules and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for SEZs that would balance the need for units, especially IT companies, for more flexibility in allowing their employees to choose between a workplace and home, official sources said with Ensure that the infrastructure created by the developers is used appropriately.

In trouble

“Many SEZ units, especially IT companies, allowed their workforce to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. It worked well for them. Now they are finding it difficult to reinstate employees and want rules that would enable them to allow WFH for a larger workforce (than is allowed under current rules) and for a longer period,” according to a source tracking the matter. Business line.

The source added that SEZ developers do not support WFH because they fear losing customers due to the office space they have created. Developers and units alike highlighted their concerns at a meeting called by the Commerce Department earlier this month. “The units and developers were asked to work out the problem among themselves and search for a solution,” the source said.

In July this year, the government notified IFH rules in all SEZs, providing power to extend the WFH to certain categories of employees, including those working in IT/ITES units for one year, but up to a maximum of 50 percent of their Total employees. She said that a higher ceiling could only be allowed with special permission.

“The government can’t allow a WFH to have 100 percent of the staff forever. It probably should allow more than 50 percent to continue with the WFH as well as not claim the names of workers until there is more flexibility in terms of which workers benefit from the WFH,” an industry source said.

“Alternative use flexibility should also be enabled for SEZ developers in the form of partial removal/definition of units/office space floor so that developers can place these vacant spaces for DTA use (other than SEZs),” suggested Alok Chaturvedi, Managing Director, EPC for EOUs and Districts private economic.