Money & Banking

COVID-19: IBA eases rules governing 'special leave without loss of pay' for bank staff

K Ram Kumar Mumbai | Updated on May 20, 2020

In a breather for Bank staff, who have been working despite outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Banks’ Association said Banks’ can sanction ‘special leave without loss of pay’ if they are either required to undergo home quarantine or are unable to make it to the branch/ office due to shutdown imposed by the local authorities.

However, this leave is subject to submission of documentary proof.

Specifically, the Association’s standing committee on human resources observed that ‘special leave without loss of pay’ can be granted when home quarantine/ isolation is instructed by the Bank/ local authorities, and self-quarantine if the employee comes into contact with a COVID-19 affected patient.

Further, in case shutdown is imposed by local authorities in the area of the branch/ office or residence of the employee, the leave will be considered as ‘special leave without loss of pay’.

It remains to be seen what documentary proof can be produced by an employee if he/she comes into contact with a COVID-19 affected patient and is required to undergo self-quarantine.

The Department of Financial Services has already advised all public sector banks that employees with disabilities are exempted from duty during the lockdown period and their period of absence may be treated as ‘special leave without loss of pay’.

When it comes to other reasons for absence from work, the committee said banks may independently draft administrative guidelines on their own according to the geographical area where the branch/ office is located.

The Association, in a communication to Banks, emphasised that in these tough times the guidelines (regarding absence from work) that will be drawn up should be considerate, sympathetic and on humanitarian grounds, keeping in mind their business continuity plans.

According to KS Krishna, General Secretary, All India State Bank of India Employees’ Association, staff are bank staff are braving the threat of the pandemic and risk to their lives and reporting at their workplaces.

“Many employees’ movements have been curtailed because of the lockdown measures. Life’s rhythm stands unsettled because of this unprecedented health crisis,” he said.

Hence, a humane approach needs to be taken by bank managements towards their workforce.

Published on May 20, 2020

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