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Companies in India Tailor Benefits to a New World of Working

Companies in India Tailor Benefits to a New World of Working

​As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way we work, some employers in India have updated their employee benefits and allowances to make them more relevant to current times.A top priority has been medical benefits, given that the pandemic is far from over and medical treatment can be costly in India’s private hospitals. A ferocious wave of COVID-19 cases over the summer affected millions of employees and their families across the country, and employers are still responding. “The safety and well-being of employees has been predominant in whatever actions we take,” said Hema Mani, Chennai-based regional director of HR at Lennox India Technology Center, a manufacturer of heating, cooling and refrigeration systems. This year, Lennox added medical insurance coverage specifically for COVID-19 for its employees and their family members. It also created policies to support any other financial needs of employees that might not be covered by medical insurance, Mani said.  NEC Corporation India Pvt, a provider of IT and network technology solutions, increased employees’ medical coverage earlier this year when it renewed the company’s insurance policy. In addition, employees now receive a subsidized top-up option to further raise the coverage for their dependents. “We are hearing that COVID has long-term impact, so health has become critical for us,” said Kashish Kapoor, head of HR at NEC Corporation, based in Delhi. Companies like NEC and others have offered to reimburse the cost of vaccinations for employees and their dependents. This reimbursement would extend to any booster shots that may be required in the future, Kapoor said. Some companies have organized vaccination drives for staff. At chocolate-maker Hershey India Pvt, 90 percent of its employees have received at least one jab, and around 20 percent are now fully vaccinated. Hershey also extended health benefits to its third-party contractors who work on the company’s factory floor. And in addition to helping these workers get vaccinated, the company has made medical counseling available in multiple languages for contractors, according to Abhishikta Das, Mumbai-based HR director for Hershey.Last year, the company also announced a medical fund of up to $100 per employee to cover the cost of sanitizers, masks and anything else employees felt they needed to protect themselves from COVID-19, Das said. This was in addition to medical insurance for all employees, according to the company.To provide financial security for its sales staff, Hershey decided early on not to cut the incentives that make up a large part of their income. Instead, “we changed the design of our incentives,” Das said. Because sales executives could not visit clients in person, the company decided to assess the sales team based on the number of phone calls they were making to retailers and other clients. “That worked well,” Das noted. More Down TimeCompanies across India also have taken measures to help employees manage the anxieties and psychological stress tied to the pandemic and related issues. Some employers have implemented employee assistance programs for the first time.  At Hershey, the company contracted with two consultants …

Portraits of Kolkata’s Rickshaw Pullers

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The dense metropolis is among the only places in India — and one of the few left in the world — where fleets of hand-pulled rickshaws still ply the streets.This post was originally published on this site

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