Work From Home Mauritius!
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WORK FROM HOME MAURITIUS
In March 2021, the government of Mauritius introduced a work from home scheme in response to the global pandemic so as to ensure business continuity. This work-from-home scheme in Mauritius is however mainly targeted at the public sector in times of crisis. It is thus important to understand the commitment of this protocol and its terms of reference. The private sector can use the scheme to guide their own work from home protocol.
The work from home protocol in Mauritius encourages flexible and agile protocols that encourage productivity and work-life balance. Public organizations should thus implement work from home wherever possible. Public officers are required to discuss this option with their seniors or heads of departments whose role should ensure that all the steps are followed to successfully implement the work from home. Supervisors should ensure that tasks and activities which will be remotely handled are clearly explained and that key performance indicators are given and monitored on a regular basis. Rules and Regulations should be clearly understood by all so as to avoid any offense.
It is important to mention that in Mauritius, the work from home does not replace the existing terms and conditions of employment of Public Officers. There should be an assessment to determine how best to apply the protocol based on the circumstance. There will be cases where work from home will be applied and other cases where work from home cannot be applied.
A steering committee has been composed to support and implement the work from home protocol in Mauritius and is under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Service, Administrative and Institutional support.
Applicants for work from home are 1. Public Officers as from the General Services Cadre; 2. Public officers with assignments with verifiable performance indicators 3. A public officer who can perform a minimum of 3 hours per day for the task assigned.
Public Officers, who wish to work from home, must fill in the Application Form, through the e-Human Resource System. Heads of Sections/Units/Divisions will assess eligibility for a WFH Application within 48 hours from submission and valid reasons should support approval or rejection of applications.
Assessment for eligibility will be based on:
1. Ability of the worker to organize work.
2 Clear work objectives.
3. Ability to work independently.
4. The level of concentration required.
5. The need for back-office work.
6. Extent of face-to-face contact required.
7. Extent of telephone communication required.
8. Extent of in-office reference material required.
9. Extent of data security required.
In Mauritius, a work from home arrangement cannot start if the following issues are not considered and satisfactorily addressed:
1. The organization is not disadvantaged by the arrangements and the benefits and potential savings balance out any additional expenditure incurred.
2. Arrangements are made with regard to the health and safety of the worker.
3. Adequate equipment and technical support are provided.
4. Appropriate contact and communications methods are provided
5. Appropriate arrangements are provided for securing data, equipment, and any other resources
In Mauritius, terms, and conditions of employment, and policies relating to safety and health, data protection, and security are applicable during work from home.
These include: Data Protection and Information Security – Public Officers working from home must ensure that they adhere to the Official Secrets Act, Data Protection Act, and Government Security guidelines in relation to Information Security and data protection.
Use of IT Equipment – All Officers must use approved IT equipment and devices. These devices include laptops, office phones, charging cables, USB sticks, Wi-Fi dongles, etc. Officers must not use personal devices and any damages must be reported.
Internet Connectivity – Officers shall, at all times, use Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections provided or a secure and approved Internet Connection. The same applies to collaboration and document sharing platforms where they share or edit documents and digital Signatures where workers shall use approved digital signatures only.
Health and safety
The workers have the responsibility to look after their physical and mental health during work from home and ensure they stay active, eat and sleep well, and exercise regularly. Workers must maintain a work-life balance, work according to the work schedule, and take adequate breaks and rest to stay productive and healthy. The tools and equipment being used shall comply with the safety and health norms and should not represent any hazards and health issues.
Workers are required to have a designated workspace at home for placement and installation of assets equipment to be used in a safe condition. This designated area of the home is deemed to be free from safety, health hazards, and distractions.
Dependent care and other family responsibilities
-Workers with dependents and other family responsibilities must inform their reporting lines and agree on flexible working hours and reduced workday arrangements, with revised work targets or flexible deadlines where possible.
Emergency and illness
In the event that the worker is sick, the reporting line is notified. Workers shall be available within a core time of 8.45 hrs. – 12.00 hrs. in the morning and 12.30 hrs. – 16.00 hrs. in the afternoon respectively to respond to any call or email, whether they are in the office or working from home unless a flexible homeworking arrangement has been duly authorized.
In Mauritius, work-from-home practices will also require the workers to be available to come to the office on any working day, should the need arise. Reasons may vary from a situation when they are unable to connect to the IT systems or if they are required to meet their reporting lines.
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