In the time of Covid-19, Information Technology (IT) companies are expecting revisions in the country's taxation and labour laws and believe that industries could begin to deliver services remotely in the coming time.
The IT companies in India contribute 8% to the country's GDP and hold a 46% share in the services exports of the country. Considering this, the government officials have asked the IT giant leaders to provide details of the legislative changes that are required to facilitate this significant transition of working from home.
Industry body Nasscom is preparing a detailed report that will be shown to the relevant ministries, including labour ministry and department of telecom, to take the required action. Nasscom is reviewing labour laws from the work-from-home perspective as the chairman of Nasscom stated, “Some of the labour laws may not cater to a work-from-home environment, so (we) need to start looking through a fresh lens.”
A government official stated- “Once work-from-home is enabled at a large scale, people may want to work for only a certain number of hours a day, as opposed to the norm of eight hours a day; this could benefit women, university students and handicapped greatly."
Ashish Aggarwal, senior director and head of public policy at Nasscom stated- “As working from home catches up, people could work for two or even three companies at the same time. So, the government will need to let employers and workers choose National Pension Scheme (NPS) instead of Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) as a social security scheme."
He further added, “Current labour laws will need to be revisited to provide industry the flexibility to enable working hours and shift timings. Moreover, the role of employer with respect to safety and health measures at the workplace will require a rethink as the home becomes the new workplace,” he said.
The above-mentioned benefits are some of the major ones that IT companies have noticed in the times of pandemic.
India's largest IT services firm Tata Consultancy Services is looking to prompt large-scale shifts in work models. The successful transition is aimed where 75% of its workforce shall work remotely by 2025.
CP Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra, said that in the first phase, the company may start “with 25% employees” working from home. “Most organisations will break away from large campuses to distributed centres. Work-from-home doesn't mean work-from-home forever. There will be a Friday meeting, etc. But instead of my campus bringing 10,000 people in one place, it can be 500 people in a smaller town.”
HCL Technologies has noticed improved productivity due to remotely working of employees and has therefore proposed a model where 50% of their employees will work-from-home while another 50% will be operating from office on a rotational basis.
HCL Technologies CEO C Vijayakumar said “Right now, there are certain IP address issues. I think the government has been very flexible and provided full support and they've extended it till July 31. So, if we have to do this, I think they should look at some of the regulations as well, and how that will play out as labour laws and tax laws.”
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