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Staggered working hours, limited attendance announced in central government offices amid COVID surge


Office-social-distancing

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday announced guidelines for its employees, including staggered office hours and 50 per cent attendance of officers of the level of Under Secretary and below, in view of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

All officers of the level of Deputy Secretary, equivalent and above are to attend office on a regular basis, a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry said. It said that physical attendance of the officers of the level of Under Secretary or equivalent and below to be restricted to 50 per cent of the actual strength

"Secretary/head of Department (HoD) may regulate the attendance of officials and may, on administrative grounds, direct more officials to attend office," the statement said. The persons with disabilities and pregnant women employees may be exempted from attending office, but they shall continue to work from home, until further orders, it said.

MoS (Personnel) Jitendra Singh said that the guidelines, which were issued in view of the unprecedented rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and to take measures to prevent its spread, "shall come into effect immediately and will remain in force until 30.04.2021 or further orders".

He hoped that all these instructions will be followed in letter and spirit in the interest of the well-being of all the citizens and government employees and their families. Singh expressed hope that the state/Union Territory governments will also contemplate on similar guidelines, according to the statement.

The Personnel Ministry said that the officers/staff shall follow staggered timings -- 9 AM to 5.30 PM, 9.30 AM to 6 PM and 10 AM to 6.30 PM -- to avoid overcrowding in offices. "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," it said.

The statement said that all officials residing in containment zones shall continue to be exempted from coming to office till the containment zone is denotified. All officials who attend office shall strictly follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour including wearing of mask, physical distancing, use of sanitiser and frequent hand washing with soap and water, it said.

The Personnel Ministry said that crowding in lifts, staircases, corridors, common areas including refreshment kiosk and parking areas is to be strictly avoided.

"The meetings, as far as possible, to be conducted through video-conferencing and entry of outside visitors to be curtailed appropriately. Proper cleaning and frequent sanitization of the workplace, particularly of the frequently touched surfaces may be ensured," the statement said.

Biometric attendance shall continue to be suspended and physical attendance registers to be maintained until further orders, it said.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)