The commerce department of the Government of India on Thursday allowed information technology companies operating in special economic zones (SEZs) to work from home completely or any place outside such zones till 31 December 2023. The move is in line with the IT and tech industry’s demand for the liberalisation of work-from-home rules.
In July, the Centre allowed 50 per cent of the employees in SEZs, including contractual workers, to work from home. To date, WFH was permitted for a maximum period of one year in an SEZ unit. The flexibility was also granted to development commissioners of SEZs to approve a higher number of people to WFH.
According to the amended rule 43A under the SEZ law, employees of IT and information technology-enabled services, employees who are travelling as well as those who are working offsite will be allowed to work from home (WFH) or remotely.
The introduced law has asked to maintain the lists of employees who are allowed to follow WFH or from any place outside SEZs. The maintained list will be submitted to the development commissioner.
Ashish Aggarwal, VP and head of public policy at NASSCOM, said “Given the industry feedback that the earlier notification issued in July 2022 was posing operational challenges, the government has now simplified the SEZ rules to allow IT-BPM firms to implement a hybrid model based on their requirement. Now, till December 2023, only an email intimation without the need to submit a list of employees is needed.”
Further he added, “Industry is today at 85-88 per cent remote working. The one-year relaxation is expected to allow the industry to gradually reach a stable level of hybrid working with a more even split in work being done from offices and remotely.’’