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Work from Home getting a policy support


Work-From-Home is a Problem in India



Work-from-home is one of the prime workplace debates lately and there exists a huge perception gap between employers and employees when it comes to implementing or not implementing a recognised work-from-home policy.



According to a survey of over 1,100 employees and almost 800 employers by times jobs, nearly 60% organizations in India do not have a formal work-from home policy. Incidentally, 75% employers are not even comfortable with the idea, whereas 90% employees are keen on having such a policy at work.



Work-From home Culture



The Work-From-home culture picked up momentum only 10-11 years back, although IBM began this trend in India. It’s difficult to put a number on how many people work from home, other IT giants, like IBM and Dell also offer this option to their employees.

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The work from home option is not feasible for all sectors. Only those in which there is minimum personal interaction require, like in some departments if the IT sector, or in copyediting and telemarketing.
 The Future of Work from Home

India has been constantly growing in the field of education in the last two decades and this means crores of jobs will be created for educated young Indian.

Unfortunately only a fraction of this vast educated population gets stable jobs. This situation is serious in case of women population. 

Very few educated or semi-educated women manage to get a job and become financially independent due to various factors.  
  
This means, there is a vast hidden women workforce has been waiting to be a part of workforce.
However, India continues towards a wider  gap in the employable and the employed  human resources and creating jobs is one way to break the deadlock. 
But a long term effort would be to empower women  and to use their own skills and put them into an enterprise, no matter small it would be.

Productivity and performance mismatch

The Times Jobs study further revealed that 70% employers still believe that productivity gets hampered when employees work from home. Contrary to this, 44% employees feel that work-from-home helps boost productivity. Also, 80% organizations say no to work-from-home as they say that they no tracking mechanisms to manage workforce who opt for it.

A survey released in 2013 by a research company Gallup Inc in US. According to that also India has the highest gender gap in employment rates. However companies in services sector are employing more and more women these days. 

Nevertheless though there are allot of job portal generating employment in India few are really helpful for women and providing flexible job opportunity like content writing, lead generation, customer support executives, digital marketing, web development, graphics designer, interior designers, fashion designers, tutors are open to women. But there is still a huge mechanism gap in such digital platforms too.

The Role of Indian Government in creating jobs in IT sector

Central government is working on a scheme to push work-from-home jobs in the IT sector by offering financial incentives to both employees and employers.

Incentivising work-from-home jobs through policy-level initiatives can help in creating job in the Information technology enabled services domain while increasing the available talent pool for the sector .

This will create employment opportunities in the IT/ITES industry, especially for women differently-able persons.

How would the scheme work?

The scheme is proposed for a three-year period till March 31, 2022 with an outlay of about 270 rupees crore to create about 50,000 work-from-home jobs.
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The initiative is likely to be launched as phase II of the IT Ministry’s India BPO promotion scheme that incentivises firms to set up operations in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the country. 

The scheme, launched in 2016, had an outlay of about 500 rupees crore with an objective to create about 1.45 lakh jobs.

There is a large chunk of talent pool in the country, especially women, who are not able to join full-time office jobs. 

The scheme envisages incentives for both employers as well as employees as companies do not recruit people for work-from-home jobs on part-time basis, but on contract due to stringent labour laws.

What is labour law exemption?

In 2016, the government had announced exemption for start-ups from nine labour laws, including the payment of gratuity Act, 1972, Contract labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, Employees provident funds and miscellaneous provision Act, 1952 and Employees State Insurance Act, 1948.

The work-from-home policy may extend relaxation in labour laws similar to that given to start-ups under the start-ups under the Start India programme.

Besides, it is proposed that employees be provided support for 50% of the cost of a laptop (Rs 10,000 cap) or Smartphone (up to 5,000 Rupees), along with up to 350 rupees per month for broadband.

Scheme might include additional incentive to women employees, differently-abled, SC/ST and those from aspirational and backward districts.

 For Other benefits under the scheme, employees will need to have an Aadhaar-linked Universal Account number.

A way forward

Women and men still play traditional roles in India are a notion that needs to break. Opportunities to work from home will hasten that process. 

Empowering women to builds skills, engage in self employment or jobs in their own city and region and help them build confidence and meaningfully to contribute to the economic growth process. 

India’s economic history is marred with challenges with many girls being restricted from travelling for work, getting married too soon leave education in the middle, or not pursue what they trained to in their college and so on. Given these challenges which will take some time unshackle, working from home is a very real opportunity.

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