100% WFH for employees in SEZs?

The Commerce Ministry is contemplating allowing 100% work-from-home for employees working in units in special economic zones

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The Ministry of Commerce, Government of India is considering allowing 100 per cent work-from-home (WFH) for employees working in units in special economic zones (SEZ).

In July, the Ministry’s notification had outlined rules allowing up to 50 per cent of employees working in SEZ units to work from home for a period of not more than a year, subject to certain conditions.

At the time, the Ministry had also brought out rules stating the various categories of employees (including those employed on contract) who could work from home. Amongst those eligible for the facility were IT and ITeS SEZ units, employees who were temporarily unfit or unable to travel to work, those who were travelling and those who were working at other locations /offsite.

Now, as announced by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, the Ministry is contemplating a 100 per cent WFH as that is likely to lead to more employment opportunities, especially in the smaller cities. The Minister stated that a WFH culture is favourable for the country, on the whole.

Goyal admitted that facilitating work from home in SEZ units amidst the pandemic was a decision that was welcomed by one and all, and it had also resulted in improving services exports, which touched $254 billion in 2021.

Special economic zones are duty-free areas that are set aside by the Government for industrial development so that exports are promoted and investments from abroad are attracted.

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