The Department of Commerce, SEZ Division has issued Guidelines vide Instruction No. 110 dated August 12, 2022 providing Standard Operating Procedure (“SOP”) for Work from Home (“WFH”) permission for the implementation of Rule 43A of the Special Economic Zones (Third Amendment) Rules, 2022 (“the SEZ Rules”). SEZ (Third Amendment) Rules, 2022 dated July 14, 2022 and Rule 43A in the said Rules.
SOP on Work From Home:
- The units intending to or implementing WFH will formulate and adopt a WFH Scheme and submit applications to the relevant Development Commissioner notifying the adoption of the WFH Scheme,
- At least 15 days in advance from the date that such WFH Scheme is intended to be put into effect at the unit, preferably by email, through the registered email id of the unit, to the concerned Development Commissioner office, with a copy to the Specified Officer concerned as per sub-rule 3 and 6 of the notification.
- The email and other address or contact details where proposals are to be submitted would be published on the SEZ/ Development Commissioner’s website and notice board.
- The application should contain a covering note signed by the authorized signatory of the unit mentioning:
(i) Date of application;
(ii) Total number of employees including contractual, at the Unit;
(iii) Whether WFH Scheme is for all employees at the unit or for particular categories of employees
(iv) In case the WFH scheme intends to cover 50% or any higher percentage, the details of all the employees intended to be covered shall be provided.
(v) An undertaking that the Unit shall ensure attendance at the Unit based on the percentages provided in the Scheme and as may be approved. The Unit may internally decide how the WFH is to be implemented subject to adherence to the approved percentages. The details of the internal plans are not required to be submitted;
(vi) Details of such employees who would be eligible to opt for WFH;
(vii) Duration for which permission for WFH is required (permission can be sought for a maximum of one year at a time);
- The attachment submitting the WFH Scheme with the application being submitted should be an excel sheet containing the following columns: a. Name and designation of all Employees eligible to opt for the WFH Scheme;
b. SEZ/Unit ID Card No. of such Employees;
c. Validity/Expiry date of the SEZ/Unit ID Card;
d. Details of Laptop / other assets assigned to such Employees;
e. Duration for which the permission for WFH is required (In case it is different from the general duration for which permission is sought).
Existing unit having permission for WFH:
- In order to ensure adequate period for compliance with Rule 43A, for the units already operating under the Work From Home option covering the existing employees, a period of 90 days for providing of required information would be provided, as a one-time exception. Further, the units shall ensure that the electronic assets removed are duly accounted for in appropriate records.
- In case of new employees, provisional permission for WFH may be availed on an immediate basis, which may be regularized through an application, preferably by email, within 15 days.
- The application for approval of the WFH scheme shall be processed and approved within 15 days and
- in the event, no communication is received by the unit from the Development Commissioner within 15 days from submission of application, the WFH Scheme shall be deemed to have been approved.
The calculation of the approved percentage of the employees
- For the purpose of calculation, the approved percentage of the employees may be calculated based on the monthly employee data of a unit for the previous month and in case of employees working in shifts, the approved percentage may be computed based on the shift wise monthly employee data of a unit for the previous month.
Revision in application:
- A Unit may submit a revised WFH Scheme at any time, at least 15 days in advance from the date that such Work From Home scheme is intended to be put into effect.
The author of GST Weekly update Article is CA Vipul Khandhar. He can be reached at [email protected].
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