COVID-19: Centre issues new guidelines to regulate attendance in govt offices

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has issued new guidelines to regulate attendance in central government offices, departments and ministries.The ministry on Monday directed all officers at the level of Under Secretary and above to attend offices on all working days from June 16 until June 30 while persons with disabilities and pregnant women employees would continue to work from home.Regarding government officials below Under Secretary level, 50 per cent of such officials shall attend office on all working days and the remaining shall work from home, said the order issued to all central government ministries/departments.The Personnel Ministry has come up with guidelines to regulate attendance in government offices “in view of the fact that the number of COVID cases and positivity rate have reduced considerably.’’“All government servants at the level of Under Secretary and above to attend office on all working days,’’ it said.  All officers/staff have to ensure strict compliance with COVID-appropriate behaviour viz. frequent washing of hands/sanitisation, wearing a mask/face cover, observing social distancing at all times and “any laxity in this regard shall be viewed seriously,” the order said.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, in order to avoid overcrowding in offices, it added. The persons with disabilities and pregnant women employees shall continue to be exempted from attending office but are required to work from home till further orders, the order said.All officers/staff residing in the containment zone shall be exempted from coming to offices till the containment zone is denotified, according to the order.Those officers/staff who are not attending office shall work from home and they should be available on the telephone and other electronic means of communication at all times, the order said.‘’Meeting, as far as possible shall be conducted on video-conferencing and personal meetings with visitors, unless absolutely necessary in the public interest, are to be avoided,’’ it said.These instructions shall come into force from June 16 until June 30, the order said, adding that biometric attendance shall continue to be suspended and physical attendance registers to be maintained until further orders, the notification mandated.

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