SBI Asks 70,000 Bank Employees Who Worked Tirelessly During Demonetisation To Return Money Paid For Overtime
The State Bank of India (SBI) has asked 70,000 employees who became its part after the acquisition of associate banks, to return the ‘compensation’ paid for the Demonetisation period.
The merger saw SBI acquiring associate banks namely- State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, on April 1, 2017.
Between March and May 2018, employees were paid an “out-of-pocket-expense” between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000, depending on the scale and rank of officials, as compensation for working beyond 7 pm during the period Nov 14 – Dec 30, 2016.
The SBI in a directive told all zonal headquarters that compensation was intended only for employees who were part of its family during demonetisation and put the onus of dispensing the reward to ‘its’ employees on the associate banks.
The New Indian Express quoted the directive which said, ”the claim related to the period before the merger of e-ABs (erstwhile Associate Banks) should have been dealt by e-ABs at the material time, and we have no record of any commitment to pay the same.” Moreover, it elaborates the point that the compensation paid earlier in the year was only meant for employees who had worked in SBI during demonetisation.
Furthermore, the instruction stated to, “examine under what circumstances approval was given for the payment of compensation to the officers of e-ABs”. Also, it asked to “recover where wrong payments have been made.”
Bank Unions Protest
The bank unions expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction, stating that the due compensation was already paid a year late after repeated requests made to the Indian Banks Association, The Hindu Business Line noted.
An employee told the media house, “Normally, a merger means taking over the assets and liability. Now, if there is any liability towards staff on account of working beyond service hours, how can the parent SBI deny that?”
A senior official of SBI on the condition of anonymity told India Today, “The compensation was paid erroneously. Salaries and other dues of the employees of the erstwhile associate banks, which merged with the SBI in 2017, were not the liability of the SBI in March-May 2018. That’s why scrutiny has been ordered.”
The central government’s move caused a lot of short-term turmoil in the country. As per reports, more than 100 deaths were caused in its aftermath. While common citizens queued up outside banks to get legal tender, the bank employees worked long shifts under tremendous pressure to deal with the crowd.
Reportedly, 11 bank officials died due to stress in the two week period in 2016. Moreover, for any mistake committed, cashiers were held immediately and personally responsible by the banks and were asked to pay the balance amount out of their own pocket or proceedings were initiated against them.