Government employees will no longer enjoy the work-from-home facility. They will have to attend offices physically, like they did before the pandemic hit.
The ministries have started issuing orders that staff members attend their respective offices regularly – revoking the work from home facility in the wake of last Monday's verbal directive from the cabinet division to different ministries and divisions.
Public Administration Secretary Sheikh Yusuf Harun told The Business Standard that all government employees will have to come to their offices to work in person as per normal rules.
However, those vulnerable to Covid-19, sick employees and pregnant women will abstain from attending the workplaces.
Some 75 percent of government employees have been working from home in shifts from June 1 – after the end of the 68-day general holiday from March 26 to May 31 that was enforced in the country due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Twenty-five percent are already attending their offices in person.
An official at the public administration ministry said the government has taken this initiative to fully activate government departments after opening industries and businesses in the beginning of June.
The private sector is working to adapt to the new situation. Moreover, there are no signs that the novel coronavirus pandemic will end soon. So, they have taken the decision, he added.
However, the cabinet division will not issue any written instruction in this regard, he said.
A senior secretary, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Business Standard that on Monday, the cabinet division asked the secretaries and senior secretaries of various ministries to cancel the home office system. It asked all officers, in particular, to be present in offices regularly. However, it has been suggested that third and fourth class employees' attendance be kept a little lower if necessary.
After receiving the instructions, the commerce ministry on Monday issued an office order canceling the home office system.
The office order said rostering duties of all the officers and employees of the commerce ministry have been canceled. It also asked for the recent notification of the cabinet division and the public administration ministry, regarding an in person presence in offices, be followed.
On Sunday, the cabinet division issued instructions that government and autonomous offices remain open in compliance with hygiene rules, without mentioning attendance in offices on a limited scale.
It said vulnerable and sick employees, plus pregnant women, will not be required to attend their workplaces in person. The secretaries will take necessary steps under the purview of the ministries and the divisions.
Several officials were seen expressing frustration, in the room of an additional secretary in the finance ministry, following the instructions to cancel the work from home facility.
They said, "We were doing more work from home than what we do when present at the office. We are even working on Fridays and Saturdays. There is no pending office work. Coming to the office every day will increase the risk of novel coronavirus infection for our family members and ourselves."