The government offices in Tamil Nadu are set to revert to a five-day workweek pattern with effect from January 1, 2021, the state government said on Saturday. A government order, dated May 15, 2020, had directed all its offices to function with 50% strength for six days a week in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Subsequently, they were allowed to function with full strength from September 1.
"The present six-day workweek, including Saturday, be modified and reverted to five-day workweek with 100% strength... with effect from January 1, 2021," Chief Secretary K Shanmugam said in an order.
On October 1, the Tamil Nadu Government All Department Association’s Coordination Committee reportedly asked the state government to clarify its order on the six-day week pattern as the offices had returned to functioning with all employees. They alleged that there was lack of clarity on whether the temporary decision to work six days a week would be altered.
Members even staged a demonstration across Virudhunagar district, asking that they return to the five-day pattern.
The government staff were working on various shifts over the last few months in order to restrict physical contact. Despite this, however, several offices contributed to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state. In June, for instance, TNM had reported that in the Tamil Nadu Secretariat alone, close to 100 people had tested positive for coronavirus. Three of these infected persons were IAS officers.
There was a concern on the further spread of the infection as government offices saw visitors throughout the day.
The state currently has 31,787 active cases of COVID-19, with 2,886 people testing positive on Saturday. So far, a total of 7,06,136 persons have tested positive in Tamil Nadu. The state saw a total of 10,893 deaths. In Chennai alone, 1,94,901 persons have tested positive.