New Delhi: In a new order from the central government, extensions for work from home (WFH) measures for 50% of its employees below the level of Under Secretary have been applied until February 15. A previous order by the Personnel Ministry had extended the same to January 31.
The extensions have been allowed due to the prevailing pandemic situation in the country and the rise in cases of Covid-19, which have been driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. Persons with disabilities and pregnant women employees would continue to be exempted from attending offices.
Central government officers and staffers will have to follow staggered timing - 9 AM to 5.30 PM and 10 AM to 6.30 PM - to avoid overcrowding in offices.
"Physical attendance of government servants below the level of Under Secretary shall be restricted to 50 % of the actual strength and the remaining 50 % shall work from home. A roster may be prepared accordingly by all the departments concerned," the notice was quoted as saying by media reports.
All officers of the level of Under Secretary and above are to attend office regularly, the order stated. The Personnel Ministry also extended the suspension of biometric attendance for the employees till February 15. It had earlier this month suspended the marking of biometric attendance for all its employees till January 31, as a precautionary measure to check the spread of COVID-19.
On Sunday, the central government refuted allegations that vaccine mandates on workers in several states had caused any loss of jobs. The accusation was made by advocate Prashant Bhushan in the Supreme Court where a matter involving issues in connection with disclosure of data on clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates.
Bhushan had filed an intervention application in the main petition, claiming people are losing jobs due to these mandates, a claim which the Center said was not backed up by fact.
Two weeks ago the state of Assam had followed suit in imposing a vaccine mandate on people entering public spaces as well as directing all government workers to recieve both doses of the vaccine, failing which they would have to avail leave, most probably without pay.