Relaxation of OSP conditions to allow Work From Home Facility

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In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, employers are being advised to allow/require employees to work from home. In this context, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India, vide circular dated March 13, 2020 (“Circular”), has issued certain relaxations in the terms and conditions prescribed for Other Service Providers (“OSPs”), with respect to the ability of their employees to work from home. The exemptions/relaxations are available till April 30, 2020.

The key takeaways from the Circular are as follows:

(a) Security deposit: The Circular exempts OSPs from the requirement to pay a security deposit and have an agreement to enable work-from-home options.

(b) Virtual Private Network (VPN) requirement: The Circular exempts OSPs from the requirement of having a secured VPN from an authorized service provider. OSPs may now use secured VPNs configured using ‘static IP’ addresses by themselves to enable interconnection between the home agent position and the OSP center with pre-defined locations.

(c) Prior permission: The Circular also exempts OSPs from the requirement to seek prior permission for providing work-from-home facility. OSPs are however required to notify the designated field units of the DoT before starting the facility.

(d) Penalty: Violation of the terms and conditions of the work-from-home facility by any agent/employee or the OSP, until April 30, 2020 shall render the OSP liable for a monetary penalty of up to INR 500,000, per work-from-home location which is in violation. Additionally, the OSP registration is also liable to be cancelled.

All other terms and conditions of the OSP registration remain unchanged.

Date:March 16, 2020