Govt Enforces Strict Office Hours with Biometric Attendance

This measure aims to enforce punctuality through the biometric attendance system, which many employees have neglected since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Govt Enforces Strict Office Hours with Biometric Attendance

The Centre's Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has issued a new directive mandating that all government employees, including senior officials, must arrive at the office by 9 am, with a 15-minute grace period. Employees are required to punch in by 9.15 am, or face the deduction of half-day casual leave.

According to a report by The Times of India, this measure aims to enforce punctuality through the biometric attendance system, which many employees have neglected since the COVID-19 outbreak. Central government offices operate from 9 am to 5.30 pm, but junior-level employees often arrive late and leave early, disrupting public-facing services. In contrast, senior officials argue that their work often extends beyond regular hours, sometimes until after 7 pm, and thus they do not adhere to fixed working hours.

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government attempted to enforce strict office hours, but faced resistance from employees who cited long commutes as a challenge. The Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system, initially introduced to monitor punctuality, was suspended during the pandemic but reinstated in February 2022.

A directive issued last year urged central government employees to return to using the biometric attendance system, emphasizing the need to address habitual tardiness and early departures seriously. Some employees have been known to frequently skip office hours or attend briefly in departments where IT-enabled faceless systems are in place.

This new policy seeks to instill greater discipline but may provoke resistance from employees accustomed to arriving late, sometimes even past 10 am.

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