Research article on 100% WFM for IT Employees in SEZ
100% work-from-home for IT employees working in SEZ in India
The pandemic has turned the world upside down. Quarantine, nationwide lockdowns and the infamous Covid virus have revolutionized almost every aspect of our lives. However, the one domain that has been impacted massively is the "Job Market". The coronavirus took millions of jobs, with almost every other company laying off its staff. The remaining who managed to secure their job were overworked and exhausted. However, the silver lining in the dark cloud was the employees' flexibility in working conditions.
During a pandemic, flexible working, remote working and most popularly, "work-from-home" (informally called wfh) gained quite a spotlight.
Although, since the pandemic, the trend of "remote working" has been prominent in many domains such as Administrative services, supply chain and even teaching, no arena can support 100%remote working due to their area of work. Yet, amid all this, tech industries were among the first and even last to reap the benefits of Remote working.
With all of the working employees forced to work from home during the pandemic, it became the "new normal" for IT professionals. In the face of the pandemic, employers and employees realized that remote working benefits finances and work and family management, respectively. There has been no going back since then.
The area of work in IT companies is such that it does not require employees to attend the office physically. This is the biggest reason for sustaining the roots of "remote working" in the IT industry.
Since then, companies have been drafting policies for smooth operation during work-from-home for their employees. However, governmental bodies have also drafted policies to ensure fair work practices are followed, and employees and employers can maintain healthy relationships.
From most nations such as Australia, the US, and Germany allowing their employers to choose the working conditions of employees, other nations such As India have been more active in drafting WFH policies for their employees, especially in SEZ (Special Economic Zones) the country.
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What is SEZ:
SEZs or special economic zones of a nation are the areas that defy national economic laws and apply special laws for improved economic trade and investment in the area. The aim of drafting special laws for the area is to elevate the national economy, generate more significant revenues and attract foreign investment by flaunting tax benefits.
World bank, in 2008, on identifying the structure of SEZ, stated that geographically-limited area owned and operated by a single management body shares the advantage of duty-free benefits and streamlined procedures. In addition, SEZs are areas located on national borders which serve as an important economic asset to the nation.
How many SEZs are in India:
In India, there are 265 SEZs as of (31.01.21) identified by the Government of India. Of these 265, 64% are located in only five states: Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
These sections enjoy an economic advantage, and special laws govern these areas. For example, one law drafted for SEZ in India is the central government's remote working policy for IT professionals in these areas.
What is the policy:
All the employees working in IT companies falling in special economic zones are allowed 100% work from home till the end of 2023 for employees, the notification of the Commerce Ministry Stated. The policy applies to employees who are currently travelling, working offsite or are unable to attend office.
Furthermore, to ease the burden on employers, the policy would not require employers to submit the details of employees on "WFH" but need to maintain the record internally. Additionally, the remote working information must be submitted to the respective zone heads.
The original policy, published in the Summer of this year, applied to only 50% of the staff but now covers the entire workforce in the IT industry.
Why the change:
The policy drafted earlier was harsh on employers and required 50% of the staff to work remotely. However, the kind of projects undertaken by IT companies could not confirm when the employee would be required to work from the office. Moreover, per pr envious policy, employers were required to submit a detailed report to the employees on working from home and their attendance sheets.
Who will benefit?
The new policy will benefit employees and employers alike. Remote working employees, those who have been recited for small projects, and employees ed on off-shore sites who needed to chat with the office once in aaawhileave also benefitted from new policy reform.
As per the chairperson of Accenture India, Rekha Menon, "the policy will strengthen the bonds of a diversely rich community of employees."
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