Avoid crowding, don't call more than 1/3rd low-level staff: Centre to depts

Topics Coronavirus | Centre

A medic works on a sample for COVID-19 Rapid Test at a camp during the nationwide lockdown imposed in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, in Bhubaneswar, Monday, April 20, 2020 | Photo: PTI
All central government departments were on Thursday asked to ensure that more than one-third of employees, below the level of deputy secretary, were not called to offices as a social distancing practice, according to a Personnel Ministry communique.

The move comes after it was noticed that more than one-third of officials/staff below deputy secretary level are being called to offices in some ministries/departments.

"This might lead to undesirable crowding in the office jeopardising the preventive measures in place for containing the spread of Covid-19," it said.

It is reiterated that the guidelines for attendance for officers/staff at levels below deputy secretary, be strictly followed, the ministry said.

There are 4.83 million central government employees.

It referred to the revised guidelines related to the ongoing lockdown issued on April 15 by the Home Ministry, that provide that all officers of the level of deputy secretary and above are to function with 100 per cent attendance while 33 per cent of the remaining officers/staff are to attend offices as per requirement.

"The spirit of the guidelines is that crowding in the offices may be avoided and safe social distancing norms may be maintained," the Personnel Ministry said.

It said heads of departments (HoDs) may direct their officers/staff to attend office in staggered timings to further avoid crowding in offices/workspaces.

The Personnel Ministry had last month suggested three slots of staggered timings -- 9AM to 5.30 PM, 9.30 AM to 6 PM and 10 AM to 6.30 PM-- for the employees.

"Suitable roster may, accordingly, be drawn up by the HoD. Needless to say that officials/staff working from home on a particular day should be available on telephone and electronic means of communications at all times. They should attend office, if called for any exigencies of work," it said.

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