Pregnant Women, Disabled Staff Exempted From Office Amid Covid Surge

New Delhi:  Amid rising Covid-19 cases, the Centre on Sunday exempted pregnant women and physically challenged employees from attending office.

Briefing about the guidelines issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in the wake of the third wave of pandemic, Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh said, “Pregnant women and ‘Divyang'(differently-abled) employees have been exempted from attending office. However, they will be required to remain available and work from home. All officials and staff living in the containment zones will also be exempted from coming to office till the time it is denotified.”

The Minister said the physical attendance of government officials below the post of Under Secretary has been restricted to 50 per cent of the actual strength and the remaining 50 per cent will work from home.

Roster will be prepared accordingly by all the departments concerned. The officials or staff who are not attending office and are working from home will remain available on telephone and other electronic means of communication at all times,” the Union Minister added.

In view of rapid spread of the Covid-19 infection, Singh said that a DoPT office memorandum (OM) has been issued with the advice that the official meetings will be conducted as far as possible through video conferencing.

Similarly, personal meetings with visitors are to be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

In order to avoid overcrowding in the office premises, the Union Minister said, the officials or staff must follow staggered timings of 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Meanwhile, DoPT has advised all the officers or staff to ensure strict compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour such as frequent washing of hands or sanitisation, wearing face mask or face cover and observing social distancing all the time.

Proper cleaning and sanitisation of the workplace, particularly frequently touched surfaces, may also be ensured.

“The guidelines issued as per the DoPT OM will remain in force till January 31. In the meantime, regular review will be carried out from time to time and the guidelines may be revised accordingly depending on the situation,” Singh said.

(IANS)