MUMBAI: The festival of lights has ushered joy into people’s lives with some companies doling out Diwali bonuses. Employers are also restoring salary levels wherever cuts were taken, and some others are advancing their appraisal cycles.
Companies like Voltas and Vijay Sales have given Diwali bonuses to their employees, while Urban Company has advanced its appraisal cycle. Last week, in addition to reversing salary cuts taken in its hydrocarbon business with retrospective effect, Reliance Industries also paid the variable pay. The company further said that 30% of the variable pay will be disbursed as an advance against future payout of the same.
With effect from October 1, Kotak Mahindra Bank rolled back pay reductions that were effected only for its top executives earning more than Rs 25 lakh per annum. Television broadcasters like Star, Zee and Viacom18 have also rolled back salary cuts. In addition, Zee is crediting 50% of pending bonus amounts into employees’ accounts prior to Diwali.
At Kotak Bank, employees earning less than Rs 25 lakh per annum did not face any pay cuts. However, the recent salary restoration excludes the Kotak Mahindra Group leadership team’s voluntary pay cut. It also does not cover the Re-1 salary that Uday Kotak has voluntarily committed to take home in fiscal 2020-21.
Kotak Bank president & group CHRO Sukhjit Pasricha said, “As the country slowly inches back with each step of ‘Unlock’, we are ‘Undoing’ the decision of a salary cut of employees earning more than Rs 25 lakh per annum that we took in May 2020. Employees earning less than that did not face any salary cut.”
However, industries which have been badly bruised by the pandemic — like hotels, travel and some infrastructure companies — are yet to roll back salary cuts. But not all companies had resorted to pay reductions during the lockdown. Even during that tough period when stores were shut, Vijay Sales did not cut salaries of its staff. The company also did not resort to any layoffs. Now, with Diwali around the corner, the consumer electronics and durables retailer is giving bonuses to its employees.
Vijay Sales managing partner Nilesh Gupta said, “Like every year, we are giving a one-month salary as a Diwali bonus to all our employees. We want to continue with this traditional practice, even when times are tough. Employees also have stuck with the company during these trying times.” Gupta said, barring some supply related constraints, consumer demand is back to pre-Covid levels and he expects Vijay Sales to clock 5-7% growth this Diwali, year-on-year.
Tata Group company Voltas gave bonuses to its employees last month. Typically, employees get their bonuses in July/August. But this time, it was delayed and the company gave it in September to ensure that the payouts are in their hands before Diwali.
Home services provider Urban Company (formerly UrbanClap) said all its employees are eligible to participate in the performance appraisal cycle, which has been advanced keeping in mind the upcoming festive season.
“Over the past year, our employees have worked tirelessly in offering the best services to consumers across the country. Although we had to put our appraisal cycle on hold due to various constraints in 2020, we have now decided to advance it from April-May to January 2021. Advancement of the appraisal cycle ahead of the festival season will encourage and motivate our employees,” said Urban Company director (people excellence) Sana Nayyar.
Industry sources said some companies are considering staggering the reinstatement in salaries based on people’s performance. Commenting on corporates loosening the purse strings for their employees, an industry observer said, “Now, that is like the private sector giving a stimulus.”