Work from Home in times of COVID-19: Economic and Legal Exigencies
Volume III, Issue III, 2020
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in a paradigm shift in the economic and social structures of every strata of the society. Whereas the employers are figuring out new strategies to maintain a stable business, employers have to adapt themselves to the relatively new concept of ‘Work From Home.’ This article analyses the impact faced by three stakeholders – the employer, the employee and the government – and the viability of the ‘Work From Home’ model in the Indian context, considering the absence of any legislation to regulate its implementation. The article will study the status quo in the Indian business community so far, the existing infrastructure and various steps that have been considered by establishments for their own ‘Work From Home’ model and also analyse the response of the government in order to facilitate conduct of business for preventing major economic setbacks to companies. We also peruse through the legal aspects associated with contract, insurance, labour, privacy and workplace laws and how they impact the employer-employee relations in light of various notifications issued by several ministries for stable functioning of the economy. Supported by the latest data and surveys conducted by international bodies, this write-up will make a cost-benefit analysis of the ‘Work From Home’ model and its long-term viability in India as an alternative model of business which can bring to the centre-stage many a workforce left out of the economic business cycle.