Record Attendance By 9:15 Or Lose Half Day Leave, Center Tells Govt Employees

India’s government offices have generally been known for the tardiness of their staff and inordinately long lunch breaks, but the current government is looking to turn things around.

The Centre has directed government employees across the country to arrive at work no later than 9:15, failing which a half-day casual leave will be automatically deducted from their leave balances. Government officials will have to record their attendance using an Aadhar-enabled biometric system upon entering their offices. Employees are supposed to report to work by 9 am, but have been given a 15 minute grace period to record their attendances before the leave is applied.

This information was intimated to employees through a circular from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). “Habitual late coming and early leaving of office should be viewed seriously and discouraged. Action against the same may be initiated,” the circular said. The circular has also asked employees to inform in advance if they are unable to attend office on a given day, for which a casual leave needs to be applied.

Government offices function from 9 am to 5:30 pm. Many offices have had biometric attendance systems for a while, but their use had been suspended during Covid-19. The order to resume using biometric services was first issued in 2022, but given the increasing digitization of government files, many government employees had been working from longer periods from home.

The government has joined private firms like TCS and Infosys which too have been goading employees back into offices. TCS, in particular, has tied salary hikes to office attendance, and said that employees not showing up at offices at least 60 percent of the time will not be eligible for any bonuses. The Indian government, too, has cracked the whip on employees not showing up to work on time, and with an automated Aadhar-based system in place, will likely end up improving the efficiency of India’s lumbering bureaucracy.