Cognizant started laying off bench employees

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Cognizant started laying off bench employees, the number could reach up to 18,000 employees

Cognizant has started terminating its bench employees, the process is simple– move to the bench and induced resignation after 41 days.

Moneycontrol also reports, the terminations are happening at the associate level, mostly mid-level employees, and above, those employees who are on the bench for more than 35 days are being scrutinized.

After 35 days, 6 days extension is also provided, and if that employee is not able to find a new project within those 41 days, then the HR asks them to resign, and if they resist, then as per NDLF, an IT Union they are threatened by the HR.

The company, in an email to a retrenched employee, said, “… (We are) left with no other option other than to terminate your employment for the reasonable cause of failure… to secure work allocation and being in the bench for a longer period with full salary.” Moneycontrol has seen the e-letter.

The mail further added that the employee will have to attend a personal hearing to explain why he/she was on the bench for more than the allowed bench period of 35 days. In the event the employee does not appear, the company would consider the absence as accepting his inability and proceed further.

Sources added that the underperformers were also asked to leave the organization. However, the company’s severance package is quoted to be “unfair” by the sources.

The Protest Against Layoffs

IT union had come forward to file a petition to the Chennai labour commission and submitted a letter on June 22 to the deputy commissioner of labour (Central), New Delhi. In the said letter of communication to the central authorities, the union has stated that the IT major is compelling employees to resign if they were incompetent to secure the project or their performance was rated to be poor. In this pandemic situation, the respondent legal body is acting illegally and unethically by terminating numerous employees it added.

The numbers were not precise, but the IT union states there were about 18000 employees under the bench, and 27000 employees were rated as poor performers. 

Company Statement

The cognizant spokesperson said in a statement, “Performance management is a normal process across all companies in the IT industry, including Cognizant.”

While Cognizant does not comment on rumor and speculation in the marketplace, we would like to clarify that recent third party allegations regarding a specific number of job actions are not accurate, not based on facts, and were not announced by Cognizant. Cognizant continues to hire at all levels in India and globally,” the statement added.

The spokesperson said the company is also investing in upskilling and reskilling its employees at scale in newer digital technologies, including cloud, analytics, digital engineering, and IoT, where the company is seeing above industry-average growth.

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