Yangchen C Rinzin

Expecting mothers and employees under pre-medical conditions could work from home or office could split into teams and work from office on turns.

With government stressing on physical distancing, the Royal Civil Service Commission’s (RCSC) has asked agencies to allow civil servants to work from home. A notification was issued yesterday. The measure is a part of the civil service’s Continuing Service Delivery Plan.

The delivery plan will ensure that critical or essential services are not interrupted in the event of a major or extended situation caused by Covid-19 and to ensure the safety of civil servants.

Another measure includes letting working parents work from home in turns so that either of the parents could find time for their school-going children until the schools reopen.

RCSC’s deputy chief human resource officer, Sherab Zangpo, said the service delivery plan is to reduce gathering of people or crowding in the offices.

He said following the directives, the service delivery plan was prepared in coordination with the Prime Minister’s Office and civil service agencies based on three categories.

The first category is critical services requiring physical presence where the official will have to be present in the office to deliver service. The employee falling in this category will be impossible to work from home.

“RCSC has not intervened in this and has let individual agency identify their own critical services,” Sherab Zangpo said.   

“Agencies have prepared for more than a week to identify and it’s already prepared.”

Another category is essential and routine services that can be delivered from workplace or partially from “remote working,” which means working from home.

In this category, the agencies will have to identify work and allow the employee to carry out the work partially or fully from home.

The third category involves services that can be deferred for the time being, which means the employees that fall in this category can stay home and agency could assign them other works.

Sherab Zangpo said that as most of the activities that require large public gatherings or service that are possible to conduct online, are deferred and the budget has been already handed back to the government.

This means the employees will not have any work in the office and respective agency can assign them other plans to be implemented after the Covid-19 pandemic ends.

“We’ve planned this for about three months as of now. All the agencies should have started implementing the plans they have developed by now,” Sherab Zangpo said.

There is a guideline developed for “remote working” in the civil service. The guideline will help agencies outline the protocols of official communications and reporting, on the use of government’s resources to work from home, set ground rules, and make remote working comfortable and accessible.

“The agencies can, however, customise the guideline based on their work nature,” Sherab Zangpo said. “Although, it’ll be difficult to monitor those at home, we’ve prepared dos and don’ts while working from home.”

Sherab Zangpo said that this will not have any implication on the Individual Work Plan, leave, salary and allowances. “This categorisation will help us know how many civil servants fall in which category so that we can have an exact number of civil servants available to be deployed during any emergency.”

To lead the decision, RCSC has already asked officials to work from home where the services can be carried out online. The RCSC secretariat has also divided seven drivers and has asked only two drivers to be in the office and take turns.

“As travelling has minimised, we don’t require all the drivers to be at the office every day. However, rest of the drivers should stay on standby.”

RCSC on March 19 issued a notification stating that RCSC would sanction “extraordinary medica