Your Annual Increments, Incentives may soon Depend on Your Vaccination Status

Soon, your annual increments, incentives and commissions may depend on your vaccination status as a number of companies are planning to link these payouts to the employee’s Covid-19 jabs, the Economic Times mentioned in a report citing employment lawyers.

Worth mentioning here is that companies are increasingly nudging employees to get vaccinated so that they can reopen offices and resume normal operations in the next three-four months.

“While as per law, vaccination has to be voluntary and forced vaccination is against fundamental rights as recently held by the courts, companies may take the calculated risk of affirmative administrative action against those who do not take the shot as they are putting a greater work population at the risk of contracting the virus,” the financial daily quoted as saying Anshul Prakash, partner, Khaitan & Co.

He specialises in employment and labour laws.

Anshul said the tone of communication from the companies is clear and “people not taking the vaccine could possibly face the consequences in terms of career progression or remuneration”.

“I have told my staff that if you don’t take the jab, you will miss out on your increments,” the business daily quoted an unnamed senior executive of an industrial firm as saying. “For many, it is sheer laxity that is deterring them. It is not fair for those who have got vaccinated to catch the infection because someone else is still more exposed to the virus.”

A senior executive of a financial services company told ET on condition of anonymity, “There are some people who just have no valid reason. To them, we are saying we will hold 5% of your salary and pay you the day you take the vaccine.”

This comes as companies do not want to run any risk once they reopen offices.

“While vaccination is not mandatory under law, companies are asking that their employees be vaccinated as a precondition to be able to attend physical office,” the publication quoted Richa Mohanty Rao, employment law partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as saying. “Thus far, companies may not have taken express disciplinary action against those who have refused to be vaccinated. However, many are considering their options in the long term.”

Such options include realignment of roles, loss of performance-linked incentives such as bonuses and commission as a result of the role restructuring or realignment and loss of pay for those who continue to work from home despite the requirement that the work be done on premises, the financial daily mentioned citing some layers.

“Companies understand that vaccination is the only way to function in a normal manner going forward,” said Prakash, “Especially in sectors such as services, manufacturing and various other client or customer facing roles, if one is not vaccinated the person could be moved to a different role which may lead to missing out on commission, bonus and other incentives.”

It may be noted that some companies are even thinking of mandating that unvaccinated employees produce a negative RTPCR test report every week at their own cost if they are required to carry out work on the office premises or shop floor, said industry insiders.

Large firms such as Tata Steel, Vedanta, ITC, Marico, Panasonic India, Amway, PhonePe, Grofers and McDonald’s said they are sensitising and encouraging their employees to get vaccinated.

Many companies have set clear deadlines to get the entire workforce vaccinated, even as they continue to say vaccination is voluntary. Tata Steel has issued guidelines for all employees, including contract workers and third-party vendors, to get at least the first dose by July15.

(The article is posted from Times Now without any modification.)