The Department of Commerce has further amended SEZ rules to liberalise 'Work From Home' for SEZ units.

It earlier amended the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) rules to insert new Rule 43A through notification on July 14, 2022 to enable Work From Home (WFH) for SEZ units. Further, it also issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to streamline the implementation of amended rule across all SEZs.

After notification of Rule 43A and issue of instruction, the department received further representations from NASSCOM as well as units seeking further flexibility in WFH facility. The matter was examined by it in consultation with stakeholders and accordingly, Rule 43A has been substituted with new rule through notification on December 8, 2022.

As per the notification, 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 per cent of all employees of the SEZ unit up to December 31, 2023.

For units already availing WFH under earlier regime, intimation could be sent by email till January 31, 2023. Besides, units seeking WFH in future can email an intimation on or before the date of commencement of WFH.

As per the Commerce Department, 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 department to enable the units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to adopt hybrid mode of working and for providing 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, said the department on Friday.