Centre implements strict office timings; threatens half-day leave deduction for latecomers

Centre implements strict office timings; threatens half-day leave deduction for latecomers

Centre implements strict office timings; threatens half-day leave deduction for latecomers

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Employees instructed to adhere to punctuality amidst concerns over habitual late arrivals  

Date: June 22, 2024

In a bid to curb tardiness among its staff, the Centre’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has enforced a strict policy requiring employees to be present in office no later than 9:15 am. The directive mandates the use of biometric attendance systems, which were reintroduced in February 2022 after a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the circular issued, a maximum grace period of 15 minutes will be condoned, beyond which half-day casual leave will be deducted. The circular emphasized the importance of informing in advance and applying for casual leave if an employee cannot attend on a particular day.

Government offices typically operate from 9 am to 5:30 pm, yet it has become customary for junior-level employees, including those in public-facing roles, to arrive late and leave early, causing inconvenience.

Senior officers, however, argue that they often work beyond fixed office hours, sometimes even remotely post-Covid, utilizing electronic files and working on holidays or weekends. The implementation of strict office timings was initially introduced by the Modi government in 2014 but faced resistance from employees citing long commuting distances and the ability to work remotely.

The directive has also addressed concerns about the habitual absence of employees in departments utilizing IT-enabled faceless mechanisms for public interaction. It aims to instill greater discipline but has sparked discontent among employees accustomed to arriving as late as 10 am or later.

The DoPT’s latest move reaffirms its stance against habitual late coming and early leaving, urging officers to monitor attendance rigorously and discourage such practices. Action against persistent offenders is also highlighted in the directive, signalling a renewed emphasis on punctuality across central government offices.

Joyville