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November 1, 2015

November 2 & 5, 2015, Days off in Kerala, India

When elections happen in India, official holidays are called by the state and local government. As I understand it, voters can only vote in their home district as no absentee ballots are entertained. This means that people who work, live or study away from home must travel home to vote. Upon voting, a black mark is put on their finger to denote they have voted, as in the image to the right.

During the week of November 2 through 6, offices and business are mandated to close during polling hours the polling hours of 7am to 6pm on their respective voting dates; either Monday, November 2nd and Thursday, November 5th. On each of these days different districts are slated to vote.

On Monday, November 2nd: Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram), Kollam, Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode (Calicut), Kannur, Kasarkod 
Note: Trivandrum is home to Technopark (in the suburb of Kazhakootam). 

On Thursday, November 5th: Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Alappuzha (Allepey), Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuaram 
Note: Ernakulam is home to Infopark (in the suburb of Kakkanad). 

This was the official notice from Infopark, Kochi
Kerala Government has declared paid holiday to all employees working under Private Enterprises/Private Industrial Centres & other Private Institutions under Shops & Commercial Establishment Act in connection with General Election to Local self-Government institutions 2015 wide attached Kerala Government Gazette. All companies in Infopark May please make sure to implement this Govt Order. [sic]
See below for the official Kerala Gazette release.  

How do these days off impact the work of offshore teams in Kerala? 
Offices close during polling hours in the concerned districts. Offshore teams completing different processes work different office hours. As far as my understanding is that offices must close during polling hours, but after polling hours, employees may go to work. As those on offshore teams may work a shift that overlaps polling hours and after-polling hours (from say 3pm to 11pm), some may elect to work from home to take status update calls or any meeting calls that typically happen with the U.S. counterparts once the U.S. office hours start. 

A complication may occur if some of your offshore team members work in a different district than their home voiting district. In such cases, it is up to the company how to handle these situations. 

Note: On the Gazette header, we see the date listed three ways, with the English month (October), the Malayalam month (Thulam) and the Tamil calendar month (Karthika).

Feel free to share more of your experiences regarding this topic in the comments section below. Thank you. 

Jennifer Kumar, author of this post, is an American expat living in Kochi, India. Jennifer is the Managing Director of Authentic Journeys, a business consultancy providing business services and programs to bridge the culture gap between Indian offshore teams and their U.S. counterparts. Contact us for more information.

Photo credit:
District Map: Emerging Kerala
Finger mark voter: Parthan at flickr

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.