Food Regulatory Specialist
1

Hello Experts,

In view of this pandemic; 3rd wave is now everywhere; WFH (work from home) will now be soon implemented.

Considering this, there are a few questions that come to my mind:-
1. If an employee is working from home; full time; is he entitled to have food at the workplace from the company he/she is working for?
2. Which types of specific issues now the MNCs or Indian MNCs are facing regarding this specific topic - "canteen/food provision at the workplace"
3. Are most of the companies planning to take an optimization call on "canteen facilities for both types of employees - WFH and Inside company premises"

Subodh

From India, Vadodara
PROFESSIONALS AND BUSINESSES PARTICIPATING IN DISCUSSION
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Saswatabanerjee
Partner - Risk Management
Drsivaglobalhr
Doctor Siva Global Hr
Food Regulatory Specialist
Head Business Vertical

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Dinesh Divekar
7558

Dear Subodh,

The replies to your questions are as below:

1. If an employee is working from home; full time; is he entitled to have food at the workplace from the company he/she is working for?

Reply: - If the employee is working from home (WFH), then where is the question of taking food at the company premises? For the sake of taking food, why the employee will commute from his/her home to the workplace? If he/she commutes, then will it not be a defeat of the WFH facility?

2. Which types of specific issues now the MNCs or Indian MNCs are facing regarding this specific topic - "canteen/food provision at the workplace"

Reply: - It will be difficult to write which issues the companies face. Mostly, these are related to the taste of the food and hygiene and sanitation practices followed by the catering service provider. To avoid the issues related to the latter, the catering service provider may implement provisions, as applicable, of:

a) ISO 22000 2018 and
b) Guidance Note on Food Hygiene and Safety Guidelines for Food Business during Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic issued by the FSSAI

3. Are most of the companies planning to take an optimization call on "canteen facilities for both types of employees - WFH and Inside company premises"

Reply: - There is only one type of employee who attends the workplace physically. The optimisation call will vary from one company to another and there cannot be any generalisation. Secondly, the optimisation call will also depend on the severity of the third wave.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Food Regulatory Specialist
1

Mr. Dinesh,
Thank you for your efforts in this detailed answer Mr. Dinesh.

Just to correct my first question again for better understanding:
1. Is it the liability of the company, to provide actual food or food allowance, to their employees:
a) those working from home (how these are employees are served)
b) working inside company premises (it will obviously come, that they will eat at company canteen)

From India, Vadodara
saswatabanerjee
2329

Canteen will be required to be provided only when the office is working and people are at the office

The company has no obligation to pay for meals at home and any one suggesting people come to the office for food during WFH is basically negating the main purpose of WFH

From India, Mumbai
Food Regulatory Specialist
1

Ok Thank you Saswata Banerjee for your reply.
From India, Vadodara
drsivaglobalhr
297

Dear Colleague,
It is a very relevant question useful for many organizations in the coming days. This CiteHR forum is widely used by millions of colleagues and this will be giving them insight. Thanks for raising this important subject of current situation of 3rd Covid wave:

Coming to the questions:

Your Question:
1. Is it the liability of the company, to provide actual food or food allowance, to their employees:
a) those working from home (how these are employees are served)
b) working inside company premises (it will obviously come, that they will eat at company canteen)

Possible Insight to take decision :
In general there is no liability to extend any Food Facility for those employees who work from home. The facility is mandatary in factories employee certain number of employees like 25o employees or more in " Factory" under Factories Act 1948 which a mandatory welfare facility to be extended in case if the workers are physically working in the factory.

In case of other establishments like IT/ ITES/ Service sector etc the facility is more of voluntary in nature and it is to provide a kind of productivity focused / wellbeing focused facility. Here the employees are provided balanced food facility and with good ambiance and so on so that the productive levels are up and no time wastages are faced.

Here the question is to check with CTC structure of the organization before taking a call. In case there a component in the agreed and singed employment contract / agreement with the employees to provide food or food allowance then it has to be honoured as any reduction will lead to depriving of agreed CTC to the employees.
- Here as they are working from home instead of providing food, an allowance as per CTC might be considered. This is my view. Say for example in the CTC structure a sum of Rs.50,000/- is factored for food facility and that is covered in the overall CTC agreed, depriving may lead to grievance you it will lead to reduction in their CTC, Here you may add this component into any head like " Other Allowance" until the employees work from home.

-There may be different views but this is my view based on my previous experiences in few of the organizations. If there is no such cost in the CTC structure obviously there is no need to extend any food or food allowance.

2. Which types of specific issues now the MNCs or Indian MNCs are facing regarding this specific topic - "canteen/food provision at the workplace"

The present challenges are related to the quantity and service staff numbers as now only around 50% employees come to work but they have to run the canteen / cafeteria for which the organization has to keep all the staff of cafeteria 100%. This involves cost and companies trying to look at possibility of tie-ups with outside caterers too in some places as a " supply" but lead to complaints on quality etc. Hence this is a hygiene factor and properly has to be managed which many of organizations working without compromising. This is the present scenario.

3. Are most of the companies planning to take an optimization call on "canteen facilities for both types of employees - WFH and Inside company premises"

In my view no much thought is given in this area as of now and the cafeteria operation is already optimized in the last one plus years to the level of 60% or so in many organizations. In addition to this you might be award that the Labour Ministry, Govt of India ( as per press information and social media) is thinking of allowing employers to tweak the CTC structure especially on HRA for those employees who are going to work permanently from home and also to add reimbursement of cost involved for Electricity and Wifi/ establishment cost incurred by employees who are working from home etc. Probably more clarity on this subject is awaited and we need to wait.

From India, Chennai
Food Regulatory Specialist
1

Respected Dr P.SIVAKUMAR,
Thank you very much basically, for understanding and acknowledging my intentions behind raising this question.

Of course, this is going to be a critical and delicate topic in the coming days. You see, canteens are the best places directly connected with employee performance, satisfaction, productivity, employee engagement etc. You really have displayed all your expertise in this field with the detailed answer with your all-around thinking, touching most of the management aspects.

Still, the Canteen/food-for-work is the most delicate/critical topic, which most of the companies have to be prepared for, to be handled in consultation with the experts in the field. In the process of future workplace planning, this topic can not be just neglected.
Because in the complete eco-system related to the main topic we are discussing here, has again, several aspects, which most of the countries have already started attending - FOOD SAFETY - there will be upcoming processes like policy decisions, modification or making new policies, modification of regulations and acts, and so on.

Are we missing any other important aspects here?
Please put your expert views.

From India, Vadodara
drsivaglobalhr
297

Dear Colleague,
Personally I feel this is a good focus point for all members in the current scenario. In addition all aspects of Food Safety in Work Place, Licensing, Quality Management in Food Preparation in Factory Canteens, Standard Specifications of use of ingredients, Inspections and Monitoring, Factors like WFH are all to be address in the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code 2020 proposed by Government of India and also revamp the entire sections on Industrial Canteens and Provisions like Certification of Canteens on Food Safety Standards etc. In many factories health challenges or IR challenges are breeding from the " Industrial Canteen" Hence due importance to be attached undoubtedly. Good thoughts shared for the benefit of Members.

From India, Chennai
Food Regulatory Specialist
1

Thank you sir for your encouraging words.
From India, Vadodara

If you are knowledgeable about any fact, resource or experience related to this topic - please add your views.







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