A healing touch from corporates during Covid times

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on May 18, 2021

They shine a light with novel initiatives for employees — be it redefined ‘bereavement leave’, a ‘silent hour’ everyday with family or free camps for children

The second Covid-19 wave, which has been taking a heavy toll on lives and livelihoods, has prompted organisations to step up their act and introduce a series of measures to help free employees from the fears, stresses and strains associated with it.

BankBazaar has expanded the definition of bereavement leave to include the passing of friends, colleagues and other people who have been a part of its 1,000+ employees’ lives.

Gesture of sensitivity

“For any organisation, no matter the size and type, this is the time to focus on the mental health of the people who form its bedrock. Regardless of whether Covid-19 was the actual cause of death of their loved one, the pandemic has been traumatic for those who are bereaved and grieving. Many of us who have lost someone during the pandemic may not have had the opportunity to say good-bye or be present with them during their last moments. Expanding the scope of bereavement leave is an acknowledgement from the organisation of the loss, and an endorsement that the emotional well-being of an employee is important. Second, it validates the grief we feel and empowers us to deal with it ” said Sriram V, CHRO at

Corporates pull their weight in fight against Covid

Pepperfry has introduced special leave for its 500+ employees who can take up to three months of paid leave for any medical exigencies they or their immediate family members face.

“Realising that people have to attend to household chores, we have cut down meeting time to during 11 am – 6 pm and introduced a ‘Silent Hour’ everyday during 1-2 pm where nobody can call anybody or receive phone calls, and employees can enjoy a hot lunch with their family without any interruptions. We are also offering a fully paid, one-month sabbatical for employees who have worked for three years at Pepperfry,” said Aditi Pareek, Head of HR at Pepperfry.

DronaHQ offers $50,000 worth fund to Covid relief related apps

Insurance, helpline support

Scaler has insured its 350+ employees for Covid cover of ₹5 lakh per employee, who are entitled to indefinite paid leave if they or their family members contract the virus. The edtech start-up has also launched a paid mentorship service to anyone from an engineering background, who will be career-counselled by top industry leaders for donations ranging upwards of ₹500 per session, the entire proceeds of which will be donated to organisations working for Covid relief activities.

Zolostays has opened a Covid-19 helpline for all its employees in need of medical assistance, medicines, plasma, oxygen cylinders, oximeters and tele-consultation. The leadership team has put in place a vaccination drive for all 500+ employees across 10 cities.

Lessons for the world

To show solidarity and support to students in Tier 2,3,4 towns during these hard times, Vidyakul is making 80 per cent of its vernacular educational content free to use, and running awareness campaigns for students to safeguard themselves and their families. The edtech start-up has decided to bear all the expenses of its 50+ tutors and 25+ staff for vaccines, food, medical bills and travel. In recognition of the efforts and sacrifices of frontline health workers who cannot spare much time for their children, is running a free summer camp of extra-curricular courses like dance, fitness, personality development, art, drama, music, etc, for a month for their children in the 4-15 years age group.

Published on May 18, 2021

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