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COVID-19 effect: Staggered timings, virtual meetings back for govt employees

BusinessToday.In     April 16, 2021

Central ministries have enforced a fresh set of guidelines on their staff in view of the steep hike in the number of coronavirus cases in Delhi.

Staggered office timings and online meetings have become the norm again for all government employees.

As per the new guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry, officers up to the level of Under Secretary and below are permitted to work from home and only 50% of employees need to attend office.

The ministry, in an office memorandum, stated that all officers attending office can stagger entry timings between 9 am to 10 am with corresponding exit hours, and employees living in containment zones be exempted from attending office.

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"In view of the unprecedented rise in the numbers of COVID-19 cases in Delhi, it has been decided to take measures to prevent its spread," the home ministry said.

The home ministry said officers at the level of under secretary or equivalent and below be allowed to work from home and their physical attendance in office be restricted to 50 per cent of the actual overall strength.

Rosters for their attendance will be prepared by divisional or wing heads concerned. Individual wing heads can, however, call for more than 50 per cent physical attendance of any of the categories of officials in their wings, if required on administrative grounds.

All officers at the level of Deputy Secretary, equivalent, and above are to attend office on a regular basis.

"All officers who attend office can stagger timings with entry into the office spread between 9 AM to 10 AM with corresponding office exit timings. This will also avoid rush in commuting, as also in lifts and corridors. Roster system by divisional or wing heads to take care of this aspect," the home ministry said.

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All officials who do not attend office on a particular day are to make themselves available on telephone and other electronic means of communication at all times from their residence and work from home.

All officials residing in containment zones shall continue to be exempt from coming to the office until the containment zone is denotified, it said.

All officials who attend office shall strictly follow COVID appropriate behaviour including wearing of masks, physical distancing, use of sanitiser and frequent hand washing with soap and water.

Crowding in lifts, staircases, corridors, common areas, including refreshment kiosks and parking areas, are to be strictly avoided and meetings, as far as possible, to be conducted through videoconferencing, the home ministry said.

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 above instructions or guidelines shall come into effect immediately and will remain in force until April 30, 2021, or further orders, whichever is earlier," it said.

Delhi recorded 16,699 fresh COVID-19 cases and 112 fatalities due to the disease on Thursday, according to data shared by the health department.

This comes a day after the national capital registered 17,282 new infections, its highest single-day spike till date. The number of cases has been on an upward spiral in the last few days.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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