Saswatabanerjee
Partner - Risk Management
Psdhingra
Legal Analyst, Hrm
Ukmitra
Business Development, Employee Relations,
Tajsateesh
Recruitment/talent Acquisition, Career Counselling
NK SUNDARAM
Soft Skill Trainer / Hr Consultant - India
Yrshirke
Hr / Ir
Dine2
Manager Hr
+5 Others

hi there..
My question for you guys is can night shift (call center)(male) employees be detained from going out of the campus gate
for a brake? Will there be any policy where campus gates are locked at nights and doesn't allow its employees out? I believe
if he is absconding from work we has to answer/face the music. Under what legal scope can the employer act in enslaving manner? Is there
any law to protect employees from such actions?
Thanks..
bob
11th November 2015 From India, Hyderabad
Simply mention in the appointment letter or in a memo that in case an employee goes out of the office campus in the break time the company is not liable in any manner in case of any mishap.
11th November 2015 From India, Delhi
The campus can be locked for safety reason. That way no unwanted person can enter in the night and cause a problem. Irrespective of what you write in a memo, the company is responsible for any mishap, even if it was outside the campus. The police inquiry it's self will disrupt the working. The disruption due to any injury etc to the concerned person is an additional problem.
However, from a safety point of view, if the campus gates are locked, the keys must be available in a public place with easy access in case of an emergency ( eg fire) if people need to leave in a hurry. That should be considered.
Incidentally, it being allowed to leave the campus during the shift is not enslavement. Nothing and no one forced the employee to come to work and the next day he may decide not to come.
11th November 2015 From India, Mumbai
Dear Mr Bob
Inputs of knowledgeable member is absolutely right , you can leave the campus during night shift , unless and until it is stated in your code of conduct or standing order as a gross misconduct. But my question is that why anyone required to go out of the campus without the consent of the Superviser?
Regard's
Dinesh
11th November 2015 From India, Calcutta
Nothing wrong with locking gates in the night-security considerations is one prime concern.
Key to be available for exit in case of fire,injury.
That will be managements responsibility for ensuring availability of key.
We lock our gates in houses and do not consider it a jail or denial of freedom.
If a worker leaves his work spot without permission,supervisor can report and take action as appropriate.
In my mind,no problem about keeping factory gates locked for basic security purposes.
Company can probably arrange some tea/coffee for employees on night shift.
11th November 2015 From India, Pune
Me. Bob,
Your question is about locking of the campus gates to detain the employees from absconding, not for security reasons. That way, you will be committing a criminal offence by making your employees as your detainees, captives and prisnors. You can't do so. Locking of gates for the securty reasons can be understood, but not for detention of employees. Locking of employees cannot be used as substitute to effective supervision by the mangement. Better make your supervision and disciplinary system effective rather than locking of the employees, which is illegal. Suppose some employee falls ill or fire breaks in the office premises, would the employee or his colleagues wait for permission of sleeping management executives to unlock the gates to take him to hospital or to get out of the inferno or smoking environment?
MUST NOT RESORT TO SUCH ILLEGAL PRACTICE OF LOCKING OF EMPLOYEES.
11th November 2015 From India, Delhi
Greatly appreciate all your responses. Thanks a lot.
My point goes further beyond locking campus gate for security reasons which is understandable, that the security personal wouldn't
allow the employees to go out to smoke/have snacks etc..on the instructions of campus manager ''night time.. not allowed''. So the
question is, can the management force its workers to stay within the premises? The concern reached HR like this saying you can take action if absconding but can't prevent from going out that too with no prior information of such restrictions.
Please comment.
Thanks!!
12th November 2015 From India, Hyderabad
Dear Bob,

The same thing happens, i.e., criminal act of keeping the workers as captives, when you say, "the security personal wouldn't allow the employees to go out," or management FORCE its workers to stay within the premises." In both the cases, the workers are treated as slaves and captives. Of course, the organisation can ban smoking by the employees within the premises and treat that as misconduct of the workers for penalising them, but cannot enforce ban in having snacks by employees. The question arises, why the management should fail in making proper arrangement for providing facility of light refreshment of the workers during office/factory hours? If not by providing canteem facility, why the management should make arrangement of supply of snacks & tea from outside, if that does not want the workers to go out of prmises to have snacks? In any case, workers should not be treated as slaves or captives of the organisation. If the organisation does not have canteen or other arrangement for providing snacks and tea to the employees, why not allow them to go out with due permission from the management?
12th November 2015 From India, Delhi
I do not know why people don't give full information in the first place instead of making members of the forum run around in circles !

The company is fully within its rights in asking security not to allow any one out of the premises. That does not make you a slave. You have come to work, not to walk in the garden. The company expects you to put in full days (or shifts) work. Allowing the employees to go out for smoke and snacks will result in massive loss of time and create a chaotic work schedules. I am pretty shure that once allowed, people will be taking smoking breaks a very hour.

That said, the employees are entitled to breaks once in every 5 hours of work. And provision must be made for food / snacks, tea and coffee at reasonable intervals. You have not stated which state you are in, so you need to read your state shop act for details of the mandatory requirements. However, to the best of my knowledge, all call centres provide a good canteen and coffee / tea machines, so there should be no reason to step out.


12th November 2015 From India, Mumbai
Employees are not animals to be kept inside a compound during working hours. You should have enough break-out space for people. Allow them to mix with each other. As regards smoking, you can dissuade people from smoking through posters. As a responsible employer (if you are !), whether it is day or night shift, provision should be made for snacks , coffee, tea etc. One cannot function effectively on a hungry stomach. By the way, why people come to work ? To earn their livelihood and eat and survive... Even machines and equipment require a break.... Governments keep making amendments to various acts mainly because of employers who want to run the business with an iron-hand. That wont work for long !
Best wishes
12th November 2015 From India
Just instal log in attendance / performance tracking system in each PC , which will automatically record actual time spent on the job on daily basis....keep track of record and confront the concerned employees on facts n figures ! Its a one time investment and many BPOs have installed the above system !
Rgds
Santosh
12th November 2015 From India, Mumbai
Dear Bob ,
I do agree with Banerjee . It is safety for employee ,you can publish on the Notice Board ,Without Head of Dept./ Adm /HR in charge one cant go out without permission .
As far as Smoking is concerned seperte booth cab be provided .
no one can challenge as somethings goes wrong outside the gate Employer is liable , as how one has gone out while on duty .It is safe to avoid Management Action against HR Dept . / Police Action if culprit individual get involved Under IPC Act .
This similar action has happened in day time in one of the Factory ,But due to correct procedure & Security Occcurance book noting Management became safe .
Regards
12th November 2015 From India, Mumbai
All call enters I know have similar practices. Specially those that are not in the heart of the city
13th November 2015 From India, Mumbai
Dear Madan Gopalaswamy,
Practice and legal implication of the practice are two different things. I have already stated, it is OK on the security point of view, but not forced confinement of the employees. The organise has to enforce discipline ethically that needs to be observed by the employees voluntarily, not by keeping them forcibly confined to a place. If they still tend to break discipline they should be made subject to penal action as per the conduct and discipline rules prescribed for the employees.
13th November 2015 From India, Delhi
I agree with Mr. Banerjee, most of the service sector who are into 24x7 have a smoking zone and a canteen within the premises, wherein the employees can smoke, rest, eat during their break which is scheduled for all the employees during that shift. We in hotel industry give 2 breaks of 15 minutes each during night for light snacks and Tea after completion of 3 hours work respectively. With regards to smoking the employer does not entertain smoking break, but employee can smoke during their break at the smoking zone only.
13th November 2015 From India, Ahmadabad
Hi,
I agree with Dhingra...it is high time employees know their rights and that they are not pet animals to be confined and taken with a thread around the neck & told where to go for natural calls.
Many companies have wrong practices and because certain section of the society have been made to feel that because I pay you will do what I want. We have not learned enough from many Western Office Culture and attributes and their attitudes but everything else.
There are many good suggestion on providing amenities but having even provided that "No company on this earth can dictate employee on certain aspect of their life and they way they wish too". As for the employee work and performance, attendance and target etc; I feel they must have their own standards to measure but not at cost of employee liberty.
Ukmitra
Ukmitra
13th November 2015 From Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
Western Culture should be adopted to the extent possible, but the liberty of employee during working hours should not be at the risk of the employer and employee as well. God forbids if any mishap happens during the working hours of the said employee, the employer are questioned by the law enforcement team and the family members too. Keeping that in mind the basic facilities can be given within the premises wherein the employee can relieve themselves without going out of the premises.
A factory known to me, where the employees were send outside the factory premises during break, committed suicide jumping over to a running train so as to avail compensation from the factory too.
14th November 2015 From India, Ahmadabad
Dear Mr. Bob,

Nice for raising a question. No matter the shift time is, Employee can relax during his break time if he has a canteen inside the premise or adjacent to his office for a fag or for a tea or for whatever reason may be. However the timings of Eight Hours is calculated including his break time.

Closing of Gates is no-where connected with the freedom of work. For security reason of the factory /office it is the prime duty of the management to take a decision on safety and security of employees and their premise. So feeling of slave are some thought of that kind is ruled out.

With the concern of the duty manager, supervisor or whatever designation for that nature, the employee can go on a permission slip or book in book out register at the security gate. Under the law, whatever incident happens during his tenure of duty whether legal or illegal (inside the premise or outside), the management is answerable. Why we precisely restrict from such activities is to avoid legal implications unnecessarily and to become prey for the occurrence. It is only the Safety & Security policy of the management and not for any ill treatment. Ultimately it is for the welfare of the employee and take sportive. Mr. Bannerjee also said that it is an unnecessary headache for the management in case of anything wrong. I too go with it. Unwanted interrogation and action may perturb the management.

Generally in factories they provide tea and snacks as a welfare measure for the workers.

Jai Hind
Sathish G
14th November 2015 From India, Chennai
Hello Bob,

Any reason(s) for your silence after so many members have given their suggestions/views?

You said this is a Call Center--BPO.

The usual facilities every/most BPOs have are what Saswata Banerjee already mentioned.

IS THIS BPO any different....and if so, in what aspect(s)--meaning no canteen, smoking corner, etc, etc?

Unless you give the full details, whatever suggestions/advice you get in this Forum is bound to be erroneous or half-baked. Then pl don't blame anyone for the fallouts.

Coming to your usage of the terms/words 'enslaved', 'detained', 'captives', etc, forget for a moment that this is night shift.

Would the employees in any Company working in DAY/GENERAL SHIFTS get the right to walk out of office as they please without the boss's permission? And I am NOT referring to a BPO environment here.

And the Security aspect gets added IF it's a Night Shift.

Now add/include the BPO aspect here.

This is where I find surprising/baffling about some members remarks about the state of affairs in India vis-a-vis Western practices. The BPO environment, by it's very nature, involves the employees to be PRESENT @ the desk during the WHOLE shift.....that's part of the game. And during breaks, someone else substitutes him/her....so that the clients in USA, NA, Europe, etc don't feel the gaps--sort of seamless operations.

This, in principle, is the primary reason for the Breaks in BPOs to be very planned & systematic, unlike other software or non-IT companies where there's some amount of flexibility on this count.

And as far as I know about BPO sector, the number of planned/scheduled Breaks in a shift in BPOs are higher than in Software Companies, where the purpose of the breaks are different. The Coder can continue his/her work even into late nights after freaking the whole afternoon.....while in a BPO, the employee can't/doesn't have that advantage/facility.

IF there are any specific issues/situations that need resolution, the best way is to sit together with the effected employees & figure-out solutions/options. But making sweeping statements/generalizations, not only just doesn't jell but also COULD lead to hardening of stands leading to IR issues.

Rgds,

TS
14th November 2015 From India, Hyderabad
Thank you all for your insightful information. I was only busy with the ongoing issue in my company hence i was not in active discussion.

I agree with most of you. The tone in my statements were couple of times undermined this I can understand, because you are only reading my experience with neutral mind but you can take my words as such unchanged. So coming to more details asked, this is a starter company a Callcentre with no complete infrastructure yet. For snacks canteen close by 9pm. There is a coffee machine with doesn't mix sugar and milk properly etc to name few. Has smoking zone.

To summarize, I believe as I mentioned " for a brake" no employer can say "night time not allowed to go out''. As some of the panelists have said there should be a register to enter in and out timing, system to record workers working hours, and a no liability note by the employee at the gate. And such night shift policies if exist should be informed to all for consent to have an argument from the management side.

Thanks

Regards..

Bob
16th November 2015 From India, Hyderabad
I agree with Mr. Dhingra.
Surely during day shift or night shift and during the break, it should be permissible for an employee to go out, if he wants to, and have a fresh tea / coffee / snacks or even for a walk . I do not see management making it compulsory to stay within the confines.
At best for security reasons the management can issue an advisory to all its employee, telling them that it is dangerous to go out during night time during the breaks. During the shift it will have to be after following proper procedure.
A S Bhat
17th November 2015 From India, Pune
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