The Central government on Thursday offered its employees the option to work from home and staggered office timings in light of the rising covid cases. An office memorandum from Ministry of Home Affairs has asked officers up to the level of under secretary to avail the work from home option. While deputy secretary and above have been asked to come to the office regularly, they have been given the option to stagger timing between 9am and 10 am. “In view of the unprecedented rise in the numbers of covid-19 cases in Delhi, it has been decided to take measures to prevent it’s spread,” the MHA order states. It adds, “staggered timing will avoid rush in commuting as also in lifts and corridors. Roster system be divisional/wing heads to take care of this aspect.”
Similar directions have been passed by other central ministries like Information and broadcasting, Corporate Affairs and DOPT. The I&B circular states that 50% of officers upto under secretary level can be allowed to work from home. For others the Order says, “With regard to Directors/DS/US/Equivalent officers, a specific approval may be taken from the additional secretary for work from home if necessary.”
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has allowed 67% staff of the level of sectional officer and below to work from home. The Ministry of Education issued office memorandum for quarantine on Thursday after one of the staff members was found Covid-positive. While high-risk personnel, who came in direct contact of the Covid-infected staff member, were asked to go in quarantine for 14 days and low-risk officials were asked to come to work but monitor health parameters for the next fortnight.
All ministries have asked officials to be available electronically and be ready to physically report for work if called in an emergency.
Provisions have also been made for those residing in containment zones. The MHA has exempted such officials from coming to office. Meetings as per the guidelines are to be conducted via video conferencing to the extent possible. Other directions include avoiding crowding in lifts, staircases, corridors, common area, refreshment kiosks and parking. Entry of outsiders or visitors to be curtailed appropriately and all employees of the age of 45 years and above are advised to get themselves vaccinated, the ministry said.
The decisions came in the wake of rising COVID numbers in the national capital. On Thursday, Delhi reported more than 16,500 cases of coronavirus infection. The Delhi government has already announced weekend restrictions on movement.