Webinar: Unlocking the Workplace

By Emma Lynch

On 16 June, the UK India Business Council welcomed Atul Gupta, Senior Partner at Trilegal and head of the firm’s Employment and Corporate Practice Group, to discuss key employment law concerns as India begins to relax its lockdown.

Workplace protocols is a very fast developing space, meaning new rules and regulations are being issued daily based on the changing situation of the outbreak in the country and the respective State. There are numerous mandatory workplace protocols in place; a few include thermal screening of all entrants and staff, maintaining adequate social distancing, staggering visitors/patrons, and reporting any signs of illness to supervisors.

Atul addressed how to handle an outbreak in the office with two specific scenarios: the first being one or two reported cases, and the second a larger outbreak or potential emerging cluster. Atul also recommended the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website as a useful resource.

The Webinar also looked at advisable workplace protocols that are strongly recommended. These protocols include installing and using the Aarogya Setu app; maintaining a six feet distance wherever possible; video conferencing for meetings; staggering of office hours, lunch hours and coffee breaks; practicing frequent hand watching with soap or using alcohol-based hand sanitisers; and advising vulnerable persons to stay at home.

Atul advised on how to deal with the continued absence of employees. The Government guidelines state that working from home should be allowed if it is feasible, so it is important for employers to adjust accordingly and discuss options with employees.

Atul gave five steps for dealing with suspected cases in the workplace, which should be taken seriously and cautiously. There are a few special leave requirements for employees who contract COVID-19, but these rights may vary based on the State.

Finally, liability in the case that an employee(s) does contract COVID-19 was discussed. Atul examined compensation, statutory or regulatory breaches, and other possible risks.

A huge thank you to Atul for providing his expert knowledge and insights. We invite you to watch the webinar below for the discussion in full.

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