Corporate India is stepping up to shoulder coronavirus-induced challenges by lending a helping hand through various initiatives like testing, vaccination camps, financial aid, medical help and resource access for COVID-19 care. As the country battles with the second wave of the pandemic, companies are tweaking policies on loans, insurance and leaves to help employees take care of themselves and their families.
Apart from facilitating vaccination appointments and paid vaccination leaves, many corporates have updated the group Mediclaim policy to cover COVID-19-related expenses for employees and their families. "We are offering COVID-19 Kavach policies for employees and their family members to meet COVID-related medical expenses, in addition to Group Term and Mediclaim cover," said Kristyl Bhesania, executive vice-president and head (human resources) at Tata AIA Life Insurance.
HDFC Life has taken initiatives like doctor on call, facilitation of COVID-19 vaccination, mediclaim e-cards and hospitalisation, said Vibhash Naik, head (HR, Learning & Development and Admin) at HDFC Life. He added that oxygen concentrators are being made available in select cities.
"Medicines and laboratory tests at discounted rates are available for the employees through an app," Naik noted. Capgemini has a centralised, all-India command centre that addresses the employees' and their dependent's medical emergencies and needs related to availability of hospital beds, ICU, ventilators, ambulance service, blood plasma donors, oxygen concentrators, and medicine requests.
The company has also initiated a Project O2 to provide oxygen concentrators for its employees and their dependent family members who have been impacted by COVID-19. JSW Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Dilip Pattanayak said, "At the plants, we have adopted staggered shifts, social distancing and restricted movement and the use of technology to minimize personal interfaces." The company is committed to bearing the cost of vaccination for all its employees, family members and associates and is ensuring that vaccination drives are accelerated at all facilities.
Bajaj Auto has taken various initiatives for its employees like COVID Care Centre, testing facility, vaccination camp and food provision to the needy. It said as many as 1,140 patients have benefited from the COVID Care Center facility at Bajaj Vihar, Waluj. Besides making efforts to arrange hospital beds, ICUs, plasma and oxygen cylinders, ambulance support, and other emergency services, companies have become generous and are taking efforts to provide support during such times.
"Considering increased medical expenses, ICRA has launched COVID insurance plan for employees and their immediate dependents. We have also set up an emergency response team which will help in cases which require hospitalisation and extreme emergencies, this team will closely work with the Insurance company to make the process seamless for our employees," said Sheetal Sandhu, group CHRO of ICRA Ltd.
Companies are demonstrating empathy through various initiatives for the overall wellbeing of employees and even taking care of their families. Many firms have offered advanced salary benefits to employees who may require financial assistance. Some have also released annual increments and bonuses. Judge Group India is providing vaccination support, advance leave and well-being helpline during the pandemic for its employees.
"The Judge Wellbeing helpline functions as a lifeline to provide advice, counselling, stress management, and coping with a difficult situation and is available 24x7 for support," said Abhishek Agarwal, president of Judge India (Global Delivery) at The Judge Group. At Gaurav Bhagat Academy, all the employees had been ensured full insurance coverage. The company also organised a session for the team so that they could come to terms with the crisis and better deal with the anxiety or fears related to COVID-19's current wave.
"We have been taking several steps to support the staff members during these trying times. This has been a combination of financial, mental and emotional support," said Gaurav Bhagat, founder of Gaurav Bhagat Academy.
(Edited by: By Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST