Since March 24, 2020, the Indian government has been announcing various measures to ease employment related matters. While the concept of work from home is not new in Indian businesses, the Indian employment statutes are silent about the work from home concept. There is no statutory definition or any specific guidelines that may regulate the said concept.
Accordingly, there is a flexibility available with the employers to allow or not allow it’s employee work from home and the specify their own guidelines for the same. However, the statutory provisions relating to working hours, overtime payment etc. shall continue to apply as if the employee has been working from the office premises. To promote social distancing various state governments and central government have time to time issued various advisories for promoting work from home. As of the implementation of lockdown in India (effective March 24, 2020) all commercial and industrial establishments which are not engaged in providing essential services, have to be closed. However, the closure due to the said lockdown does not necessarily mean that employers are required to close all of their operations and are free to implement work from home wherever possible.
As the world of work undergoes drastic changes, there are so many questions pertaining to the legal implications of some actions that employers might take due to the COVID-19 crisis. Should they reduce salaries or withhold bonuses? Can they retrench employees? Can they terminate their employees? Should they provide pay to their employees if they are unable to come (or prohibited from coming) to work due to the COVID-19 outbreak? There are many questions like these that have a legal implication and must be answered by legal experts.
Feel free to reach out to us for any such query regarding your employer or employee.