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India Adds New SEZ Rules Allowing IT Workers Work from Home Through 2023

Last month, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry amended the provisions of the Special Economic Zones Rules, thereby providing certain relaxations under the pre-existing work from home guidelines for eligible employees working in SEZ units. The new rules allow IT employees, including contractual workers, to work from home or any place outside the SEZ until December 2023 and provide other changes to make it easier for employers to implement.

  • Importantly, the new rules will apply to contract workers who “report daily for work and the company exercises control over their attendance.

  • The remote working benefits can be extended to all employees of SEZ units. Previously, an SEZ unit could only allow 50% of its employees to work from home or remotely.

  • The company will have to maintain a list of employees who are allowed to work remotely and submit them to the authorities whenever required.

  • Employees can be provided with duty free goods, including laptops, desktop, and other electronic equipment for remote work without paying taxes (GST and Service tax).

  • Companies are only required to send an email to the Development Commissioner before the work from home period starts, instead of needing an official approval. 

 HRPI Outlook: This is mixed news for companies who were trying to bring employees back to work but a welcoming one for those who are planning a hybrid work scheme. IT related companies in SEZ should review their internal policy and ensure compliance. 

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Authors: Dilpreet Singh

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