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Gratuity And Layoff Impacted Employees

Money is Hard to Earn and Easy to Lose. Guard Yours with Care. -Brian Tracy

Indeed it is. We do not value money until it is earned by our own blood and sweat. Then comes the realization that how spendthrift we were with our parent's money. The employees at the verge of losing their job due to layoff as a result of recession can again feel this situation of merely and helplessly watching their hard earned money being taken away by the employer towards gratuity under the blanket cover of 5 years (4.8 years) continuous service clause.

Being laid off is the act of an employer suspending or terminating a worker, either temporarily or permanently, for reasons other than an employee's actual performance.

I am not arguing against layoff or downsizing policies. They are just and fair at their place but employer need to understand the full and final settlement amount is employee's earned and legitimate right and there is no valid scope for any deductions or negotiations about the same.

We strongly need a clear cause in our employment laws to put light specifically on the gratuity payment to such employees. The ground level situation is that the people been hired in IT or related industry where there is this scourge thing named bench policy, that is putting employees to a depressing and traumatic situation that they start feeling unvalued, unwanted, unworthy and left with a sad feeling of deceased morale.

And on top of that this rule of 4.8 years of continuous services is like a heated hammer in those cases where the service is new or less that 5 years and due to been on bench for quite a long time the company asks manipulatively and/but unofficially the employee to resign. So on document it is the employee who has resigned by his own wish and will but actually the background has something very disturbing in reality. And while having discussion on full and final settlement, I heard from a friend, that the HR person directly said that since the services are less that 5 years there does not arise any question of payment of gratuity.

This good friend of mine argued a little saying that it is the company asking to resign against his will as it has no work/project for him and/but the money deposited for gratuity is deducted from his own monthly salary so why is he not entitled to get the amount refunded in the specific and certain situation like layoff. This argument and the innocent question remained unanswered.

This is actually the triggering incident for this article based on a true event I recently came across about a friend. Logically, this amount should be refunded to the employee after a quick confirmation that could be either of the below ways:
  1. Employer to be kind and generous to pay the amount to its real owner (the employee)- because only the employer knows he was forced to resign and not the case of resignation for better opportunity outside the Organization.
  2. Online claim process be there alike PF withdrawal wherein the reason to be mentioned as layoff due to recession. And a step should be there to send a notification to the employer for checking and approving the employee's claim request. And if the employer rejects the claim it should submit all the supporting documents to that effect countering the reason mentioned by the employee. This step is both ways the check and balance weapon to the government where neither the employer nor the employee can misuse the provision.

Not only this incidence of layoff due to recession etc. but it can be applied even in other situations like employee had to resign due to unhealthy environment, underpaid, other malpractices etc. These are the things that need thoughtful discussions by the appropriate authorities- parliament and judiciary. But considering the current situation of employees who are victims of layoffs due to recession, the payment of gratuity by relaxing the 5 years of continuous service clause is actually the need of the hour.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Shraddha Abhijit Banchhode
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: MY314781352610-27-0523

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