#NewsBytesExclusive: Amid lockdown, Paytm employees made to forgo leave benefits
As businesses face the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, employees at the tech firm Paytm have been made to forgo certain leave benefits. Paytm has retracted the accumulated privilege leaves (PLs) and casual leaves (CLs) of all its employees, NewsBytes has learned. The decision comes much to the chagrin of the firm's employees, who had accumulated the leaves over many years.
NewsBytes has accessed internal communication that Paytm employees received Saturday morning. Several employees confirmed to have received the email. According to the communication, privilege leaves accumulated up to 35 days, and accumulated casual leaves have been nixed. Employees were also made to sign a declaration regarding the same. The decision was made in light of the economic challenges of the pandemic and the lockdown.
The email received by employees stated, "We need all our employees to contribute all their Privilege Leave (PL) accumulated up to 35 days and all currently accumulated Casual Leave (CL). Your leave details will be updated on the Elevate portal over the next few days."
An employee, who chose to remain anonymous, told NewsBytes that they received the alert at around 10:50 am on Saturday. They said, "It took 3-4 years to save 30 leaves, and then you get an email and that's burned down to zero in a matter of minutes." They said 20-22 of the accumulated leaves were encashable PLs.
The employee also said that a colleague had around 45 of their PLs "vanish" from Paytm's leave portal, even though the official communication stated that only up to 35 PLs will be retracted. This employee refused to speak to NewsBytes out of fear of retribution.
When approached by NewsBytes, Paytm's Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Rohit Thakur confirmed the development. Thakur said, "Ensuring that our employees are safeguarded from the current global crisis is of utmost importance to us. We believe that this is the right step to effectively accommodate the short term impact and the long term interests of our company and all employees."
Thakur said, "We believe that our cost-saving measures being taken across the company will help in making our organization stronger and even more resilient in coping with the current uncertainties in the environment." However, Paytm did not clarify on what other leave benefits are available to its employees. The firm also did not acknowledge the allegations of withdrawal of over 35 PLs.
According to the aforementioned internal communication, Paytm is gearing up to reopen its offices. It said, "Our offices are also fully sanitized and we are taking all measures to maintain hygiene for your safety as you return to office as and when lockdown ends."