Covid deaths: Companies go all out to aid families
In an attempt to ease the pain of families of deceased employees, several organisations are offering benefits like a one-time compassionate payment, financial sponsorship for education of their children and an employment opportunity to the spouses. The number of Covid casualties at individual firms is, however, not known as regulations mandate listed companies to disclose the deaths of key managerial personnel only. J Sagar Associates, a leading law firm in India, said that as the count of Covid deaths is spiraling by the minute, companies are stepping forward to provide bereavement support to grieving families. “Apart from taking responsibility for children’s education and continuing disbursement of an employee’s full salary up to two years, companies are covering hospitalisation, funeral and vaccination expenses,” said Minu Dwivedi, a partner at J Sagar Associates.
Many companies have expanded their group term insurance to include Covid protection for their employees. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is offering an insurance cover of Rs 23 lakh, or an amount equivalent to six times of an employee’s annual compensation, whichever is higher, to his/her family in the event of the person’s death due to Covid. TCS employs close to 5 lakh people — the largest employer of software professionals in the country (more than 70% of those are based in India).
Muthoot Finance, India’s largest gold loan NBFC, has decided to pay the next 24 months’ salary to the spouse or mother of a deceased employee if s/he had completed three years of service. For employees whose total period of service is less than three years, the payout will be for the next 12 months.
ICICI Lombard, the country’s leading private non-life insurer, will grant employment to the deceased staff’s spouse if the latter has suitable education qualifications and fits the available role. Among other support endeavours, it will also offer terminal benefits (like provident fund and gratuity) to the family of the deceased employee. This would be done even if s/he had not completed the designated period required to get the gratuity.
Companies have extended the group term insurance to include Covid financial protection for distributors and third-party packaging units’ people too. “The second wave has affected many of our employees, partners and their families across India,” said Tata Consumer Products MD Sunil D’Souza. “We have covered all frontline employees, including partner workforce in sales and manufacturing through specific medical assistance, hospitalisations and insurance programmes,” D’Souza added.
Last week, Kotak Mahindra Bank revealed it lost 17 employees to Covid in fiscal 2021 and another 17 last month. “What we lost in the (last fiscal), we have lost in April 2021 alone,” said Uday Kotak, MD of India’s third-largest private sector bank.
K Raheja Corp, leading commercial and residential property developer, is offering a term cover equal to one-year gross salary to family members in the event of any employee succumbing to Covid. “While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, we endeavour to assist in improving financial security with term insurance,” said the company’s HR chief Urvi Aradhya.
In a LinkedIn post, glassware brand Borosil, which lost four employees to Covid, had said it will sponsor the education of their children up to graduation in India.
HCL Technologies is offering Rs 30-lakh insurance, Rs 7-lakh employees deposit linked insurance and an amount equal to the annual salary of the deceased professional to the family members, as TOI reported in its Saturday edition.
(With inputs from Mayur Shetty)