Civil servants can work from home upon instructions under WFH policy

PUTRAJAYA: Federal civil servants can continue working from home (WFH) if instructed by the government or their respective heads of departments through the implementation of the WFH policy effective Jan 1, 2021, said Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Khairul Adib Abd Rahman.

In the Service Circular No.5/2020 dated Dec 21, he said under special circumstances, the Chief Secretary to the Government or the Public Service director-general has the authority to instruct any officers to WFH.

The circular also includes the guidelines on the purpose of WFH that could be considered such as to reduce or avoid loss, damage, or destruction caused by environmental pollution, the outbreak of infectious diseases, or natural disasters that could pose a threat to the safety and public order whether at the office, premises or residential areas.

Civil servants who are unable to work from the office because their residential areas are placed under the movement control order or any other orders restricting their movements will be allowed to WFH.

Similarly, officers that have to vacate their offices due to fungal decay or insect infestation, structural damage, or are gazetted as quarantine centres or other related uses to address certain issues may also be considered to work from home.

According to the circular, WFH is also allowed to avoid harm, difficulties, or inconvenience as the presence of the officers could cause a conflict of interest that might lead to an information leak or involvement of outside influence.

WFH would also be considered to create a balance between the needs of the agency and the well-being of the officers who might need to deal with their personal matters but not allowed to take leave, such as the need to care for their children who are under the age of 12 due to the closure of childcare centres or nurseries or schools, he said.

According to Khairul Adib, the WFH policy requires the officers to perform their essential duties or other official duties from home on their working days.

“It can be implemented for a full or a half working day as appropriate taking into account the public service interest,” he said.

Those WFH are required to comply with the rules where they must remain at home and can be contacted at all times on their working days, he said. 

Khairul Adib said civil servants must always be ready to come to the office or other locations as instructed by the heads of departments within the working hours.

“The implementation of WFH policy should not affect or cause a decline in service delivery quality and the officers’ work performance.  Heads of departments must monitor the work performance of the WFH officers,” he said.

Khairul Adib said civil servants who are allowed to WFH should provide the home address where the WFH is carried out and comply with the rules set by the circular.

He said the WFH policy is created as an alternative to the old way of working in an ongoing effort to improve the public service delivery system and strike a balance between performing their duties and the well-being of civil servants. – Bernama