Department of Commerce has amended Special Economic Zone(SEZ) rules to liberalize Work From Home for employees of its units. 

DoC has amended the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) rules to insert a new rule 43A vide notification dated 14.07.2022 to enable Work From Home (WFH) for SEZ units. 

Further, DoC had also issued a Standard operating Procedure (SOP) vide Instruction dated 12.08.2022 to streamline the implementation of amended rule across all SEZs. 

After notification of Rule 43A and issue of Instruction dated 12.08.2022, DoC received further representations from NASSCOM as well as units seeking further flexibility in WFH facility. 

The matter was examined in DoC in consultation with stakeholders and accordingly, Rule 43A has been substituted with new rule vide notification no. GSR 868(E) dated 08.12.2022. The salient features of the notification are as under:

WFH regime is significantly liberalised based on consultation with all stakeholders.
Erstwhile regime based on permissions has been converted into an intimation-based regime.
WFH can be provided to upto 100% of all employees of the SEZ unit.
WFH permitted upto 31.12.2023.
For units already availing WFH under earlier regime, intimation could be sent by email till 31.01.2023.
Units seeking WFH in future can email an intimation on or before the date of commencement of WFH.
Hybrid mode of working has become a norm, especially in the IT/ITES sector in the wake of disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

The representatives of the IT/ITES industry had represented to the (DoC) to enable the units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to adopt hybrid mode of working and for providing Work From Home (WFH) facility to the employees SEZ units. 

The decision has been made after duly noting the genuine needs of the industry and also noting the scope of benefits to economies of Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities that such a facility could entail.

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