IT services company, Wipro has introduced an “extended bench period” where the identified employees are asked to carry on for an extended bench period without pay for the next 3 months. These employees will receive insurance coverage, but nothing else.
According to a TOI report, Wipro’s latest change seems to be directed at those who are already on the bench, and those who have been rated poorly in the latest performance assessments. If after the extended three months the employee still does not have a billable project, he/she may be asked to go. Earlier, in May 2020, Wipro had benched 300 employees.
According to the Allocation and Deployment policy, The employee themselves has to apply for projects during this extended bench period and if they got allocated to new projects, they can join back into the organization after 3 months.
If the employee still did not get the projects by the end of 3 months, the company will take action against the employee at the end of this extended bench period.
Wipro’s email sent to employees says, “In pursuance to our records we find that you remained unbilled since… As the norms of Allocation and Deployment Policy, the company reserves the right to initiate action, up to and including termination, if an employee fails to join a billable project within the timelines prescribed……”
Responding to media queries on its Allocation and Deployment Policy, the company said in a statement, “The allocation and deployment policy for India covers those who are not engaged in assignments and have remained unbilled for an extended period. The policy is applied upon receiving the employee’s consent and will extend for three months. During their period of leave, while awaiting their next assignment, Wipro is committed to helping these employees reskill themselves.”
The company said, “these employees will only receive insurance coverage, while discretionary bonus and quarterly performance-linked compensation (QPLC) shall cease to exist during the loss of pay period.”
Wipro’s performance matrix has five ratings –outstanding contribution, exceeds expectations, highly-valuable contribution, more contribution expected, and unsatisfactory contribution.
Wipro also said a key area of focus in the current environment in India is to protect jobs. It described the extension of the bench period as a one-time exception to support and protect jobs.
Wipro has also maintained that it has not done any retrenchments on account of the pandemic induced crisis. Wipro chairman Rishad Premji reiterated this in the recent AGM.