Ministry of Commerce and Industry amends the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006, effective 7th March, 2019; permits work from home facility for travelling employees of IT / ITeS units

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (“Ministry”) has amended the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006 (“Principal Rules”). The amended rules have been named the Special Economic Zones (2nd Amendment) Rules, 2019 (“Amendment Rules”), which is effective 7th March, 2019.

Key Highlights of the Amendment Rules

As per the Principal Rules, temporarily in-capacitated, travelling and off site employees of all Special Economic Zone units undertaking sub-contracting for export on behalf of a Domestic Tariff Area exporter were permitted to work from home or from a place outside the Special Economic Zone.

As per the Amendment Rules, the Ministry has specifically stated that this provision will apply to employees of Information Technology and Information Technology enabled Services Special Economic Zone units and Information Technology and Information Technology enabled Services units registered as Other Service Provider with Department of Telecommunications, who are temporarily in-capacitated, travelling and offsite employees.

However, the provision is applicable subject to the fulfilment of the following conditions:

(a) A regular employee of the Special Economic Zone unit, who has been issued identity card will be authorised by the Special Economic Zone unit to undertake the work pertaining to that unit.

(b) The work to be performed by the employee permitted to work from home will be as per the services approved for the Special Economic Zone unit, and the work is related to a project of the Special Economic Zone unit.

(c) For the purpose of work from home, Special Economic Zone unit must provide laptop or desktop and secured connectivity (for e.g Virtual Private network, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) to establish a connection between the employee and work related to the project of the Special Economic Zone unit.

(d) The Special Economic Zone unit must ensure export revenue of the resultant products or services to be accounted for by the Special Economic Zone unit to which the employee is tagged and at no given point shall work from home involve the export of services from outside the Special Economic Zone unit.

(e) Once the employee ceases to be part of the project of such Special Economic Zone unit, the employee must be untagged from the respective Special Economic Zone unit and the unit shall surrender the I-Card to Specified Officer.

Source: Ministry of Commerce and Industry

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