India/May 07, 2021/By: CHANDRA R SRIKANTH/Source: https://www.moneycontrol.com/
How India Inc is stepping up efforts to support employees and their families as India battles the second wave of COVID-19
A few days ago, glassware maker Borosil’s Managing Director Shreevar Kheruka wrote a post on LinkedIn that was poignant, uplifting, and underscored the power of compassionate capitalism.
The company, which lost four employees to Coronavirus, made a commitment to pay two years’ salary to their families and also support their children’s education up to graduation in India. “I strongly believe that the real assets of Borosil are not reflected on our Balance Sheet at all. We need to protect these assets in whatever way we can,” Kheruka said.
The heartwarming gesture inspired Chinmoy Panda, founder and CEO of Mindfire Solutions to do something similar. Panda announced that employees can ask for an interest-free loan, which would reach them in an hour. If an employee succumbs to Covid, apart from life insurance, it will give full salary for 6 months and half salary for the next six months, apart from taking care of the education of their children till graduation.
As the second wave of Coronavirus rips through India, spreading rapidly among a segment that largely escaped its wrath last year- the young, urban working middle class- companies are tweaking policies on insurance, loans, leaves and education to help employees take care of themselves and their families in these tough times.
“Today, 96.5% of our employees globally and over 98% in India are working from home. We have also been supporting our employees and their family members impacted by the pandemic, through a multi-pronged approach. These include home medical care through our partners, enabling hospital admissions, or providing care at our company-run COVID care centers. We have established vaccination centers for our employees and their family. In case of an unfortunate turn of events with an employee, our teams provide immediate support to the grieving family and continue to work with them on their long-term requirements”, an Infosys spokesperson told Moneycontrol.
TCS, which set up Covid Care Centers across 11 cities in India, said it has 500 beds and will be doubling the number. 99% of its employees continue to work from home. “Health Insurance facilities and Emergency Medical Financial Assistance are available for associates and their families, in case of need. We are also organizing COVID testing camps in our offices,” a TCS spokesperson said.
Wipro said 3 percent of its employees are currently working from offices, and that they expect this number to drop in the coming weeks as more employees work from home. “Employees are encouraged to take regular time off from work, to rejuvenate. We have available COVID care centres in various cities for our employees and their immediate family members. In the unfortunate event of an employee testing positive for COVID, we are offering extended paid leaves over and above their regular leaves, to recover.”
“We are encouraging our entire workforce to prioritise the health and safety of themselves and their families, and take time off as needed. We are covering the vaccination costs for all our employees and five of their dependents each, to help combat the spread of the pandemic. All our employees, including our supply chain workforce, can seek an interest free advance on their salaries to address medical emergencies or any unexpected expenses on an urgent basis. We created a ‘COVID Care Leaves’ policy several months ago, where an employee can take up to 28 calendar days of paid leave for self-care and healing. We are also not maintaining any cap on the number of days that an employee may seek for bereavement leave, as part of our ‘Time Away From Work’ Policy.”, Flipkart said in response to email queries.
Amazon said it has enhanced medical insurance cover and also expanded India’s sick leave policy to cover leave for caregivers. Food delivery platform Swiggy announced a 4 day work week for employees in May, where employees can choose the days they want to work and use the extra day to rest and take care.
As R Ramkumar, former Cognizant India chairman wrote for Moneycontrol recently, if each company could take care of their employees and the communities in which they live and operate, they could take that much burden off the state’s shoulders. Equally important, he said is that we share these good gestures more publicly so that others are inspired to emulate them in their own ways.
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.