UNITE demands 6-hour work day for IT staff amid lockdown

The Union of IT and ITES Employees has presented six demands to the state governments and the Centre.

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The Union of IT and ITES Employees (UNITE) has sought the fulfilment of certain demands by the state governments and the Centre. The first one was that all IT and ITES employees working for MNCs or MSMEs, should be allowed to work from home. Following this, most organisations had made working from office voluntary. Now, the Union wants that the work hours of the employees be reduced to six during the lockdown period, and that employees should not be expected to maintain the same productivity level as during regular office routine/hours.

Based on the experience of the past few days, UNITE is now seeking an advisory from the Ministry of Labour directing that there should be no leave deductions, pay cuts or layoffs during the lockdown; that all employees who stay away from work should be considered to be on duty and be given full pay.

UNITE has also demanded that all IT/ITES staff providing essential services, be given protective gear and all measures be taken to safeguard them. Another demand is that these employees be offered term insurance as well as a risk allowance in addition to their regular salary, which will benefit them and their families. The Union wants this risk allowance to be at least double the present salaries of the employees.

The enactment of a law has been sought giving employees the right to disconnect post working hours, so that they have some time to themselves and with family. This demand was based on the fact that working from home often stresses out employees leading to early burnout.

Yet another demand is that all the extra expenditure incurred by staff working from home — on internet and electricity — during the lockdown period, should be borne by their employers.