Encouraged by its employees working harder and longer after the introduction of the Aadhaar-enabled attendance system, the Modi government is likely to revisit a plan to introduce flexible work timings for bureaucrats.
Government sources told HT there was recognition within the government on the need to introduce flexi-timings on a limited scale that would help employees strike balance in work-family commitments owing to the realities of a nuclear family.
This comes after an analysis of data generated by the new attendance system indicated 47,000 government employees who moved to the biometric system are already working 20 minutes longer than they did in September when the system was introduced.
“This average increase of 20-minutes per day means an approximate gain of 16,000 man-hours. This gain is equivalent to an additional workforce of almost 1900 employees every day,” a senior government official said.
From 1 January, all government officials in Delhi are required to mark their presence on this system.
“There is a need to incorporate flexi-timings for employees where needed and possible, without compromising on average work-hours to boost productivity further,” the official told HT.
According to attendance.gov.in – the website that puts the attendance record in public domain – not everyone still turns up on time.
For instance, on 1 January, 31.6% of staff showed up before the official start time of 9 am while another 56 % marked their attendance between 9 and 10 am. About 8% marked their presence between 10 and 11 am while the remaining 5% signed in after 11 am.
“But most employees who come in late, also stay well past 5.30 pm... and work more than the mandated 8 hours per work,” a senior official said.
In 2009, the home ministry had allowed its employees to come in a little late after it installed the biometric system, provided they put in 40 hours every week. The ground rules framed by then home secretary GK Pillai allowed officials stuck in peak hour jams to be excused if they are late by 30 minutes.
On two or three occasions every month, employees were also allowed to come late by two hours – or leave two hours earlier – on grounds of social obligations or medical consultations if they made up for the lost time in the same week.
The sixth pay commission had recommended flexi-timings for women if they put in the requisite 40 hours every week. But the UPA government had rejected the plan because there was no way of ensuring that people who turned up late also stayed back.
The existing rules, however, allow employees who turn up after 9 am only twice a month. If they are late by even a minute the third time, the rules require department heads to mark them on half-day’s leave even if they stay back later.