The government of Kerala has issued new guidelines for government offices to function amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as relaxations in the restrictions come in across states from June 8. These are as follows:
1. All government offices, public sector institutions, semi-government establishments and cooperative sector companies, which are not in hotspots or containment zones, should function full-fledged. All the employees in these institutions should also be present.
2. Those institutions which work in containment zones should make arrangements for dealing with daily work with minimum staff.
3. Since public transport was not available earlier, employees who could not reach offices had reported at district collectorates or local self-governing bodies. These employees should be relieved from there and report to their respective offices with duty certificates. If a district collector says that an employee's service is needed there, they can continue with the work.
4. Those employees who living with disabilities, have critical illnesses, or are parents of children with autism, cerebral palsy or other mental illnesses, have been asked to avoid duty as far as possible.
5. Work from home should be allowed for women who are mothers of babies less than a year old or have completed seven months of pregnancy.
6. Employees who face health and mental challenges, are parents of children below five years of age, have parents who are 65 years or more of age, should be prevented from work that involves interactions with the public.
7. Work from home should be encouraged. All employees who get an 'E-file' should get VPN connectivity through the IT Department. Heads of offices should examine the movement of files through e-office. Offices should issue respective guidelines on the attendance and other formalities of employees who do work from home.
8. Saturdays would continue to be non-working days until further orders are given.
9. Employees should take a special interest in clearing the pending files in offices. Office heads should ensure that this is being done.
10. Employees who stay in hotspot or containment zone areas and work outside these regions need not attend office. They can be granted special casual leave once they produce proof from the local self-governing bodies about the time the respected place has been declared a hotspot or containment zone. If possible, allow them to work from home.
11. Senior officers can allow special casual leave for employees who have COVID-19, based on a certificate from a government medical officer. Employees who have a COVID-19 patient at home can also be given such leave.
12. Heads of offices should ensure that the break-the-chain measures are followed strictly in workplaces.
The government has also included the guidelines to be followed by the employees who attend offices, such as maintaining physical distance, disinfecting offices and surroundings, washing hands or using sanitizers, and wearing masks. Anyone who has symptoms of the disease should not come to office. Employees are to avoid direct contact with each other as far as possible and interact over telephone, email and other electronic mediums. Meetings should be done over video conferences as far as possible.
If anyone in the office is reported to have COVID-19, that person's seat and surrounding should be locked until it is properly disinfected. Reduce the use of lifts as far as possible and avoid touching rails while climbing stairs. Official cars -- including the steering wheel, door handles, keys -- should be disinfected from time to time. Air conditioners in offices should be maintained at temperatures between 24 and 30-degree celsius. Canteens should also follow COVID-19 guidelines.