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Raghav Bahl’s The Quint sends 50% workforce on leave without pay

While The Quint has sent almost half the workforce on leave without pay from April 15 until further notice, Bloomberg Quint has gone for heavy salary cuts of up to 75%. In a letter to employees, Bahl said they were free to take up freelance assignments, including from direct competitors

Raghav Bahl

Reeling under financial stress since its inception, Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media, which runs general news website thequint.com and business news website bloombergquint.com, has undertaken drastic cost-cutting measures to survive the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

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While The Quint has sent an estimated 50% employees on a “furlough” (i.e., leave without pay, LWP) w.e.f. April 15 until further notice, Bloomberg Quint has gone for heavy salary cuts of up to 75%.

Also read: TOI lays off Times Life staff in just third week of lockdown

Calling it a “truly unprecedented situation”, Raghav Bahl, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Quint, in a letter to The Quint employees who were asked to go on furlough, said, “We are forced to request you to proceed on a ‘furlough’ (i.e., leave without pay, LWP) w.e.f. the 15th of April, until further notice. Your pay for the half-month, from April 1 through 15, shall be processed and released very soon.”

Also read: Modi appeals to businesses to protect jobs as media firms take drastic cost-cutting measures

However, Bahl said the company will give a month’s salary in advance and the medical insurance plan will remain fully applicable.

In his letter, Bahl informed the employees that the company shall relax the “exclusivity” and “non-compete” obligations in their employment contract. “Accordingly, you shall be free to take on freelance work, including from our direct competitors,” he said.

“Please do understand that we are not happy to have made the above decision — but equally, please also remember that ‘hope’ is not a plan. We cannot just hope or wish for this crisis to abate. We have to act, so that together we can survive. It’s a challenge we simply have to take head on,” he added.

bloombergquint.com opted for a temporary salary cut for April for employees above Rs 6 lakh CTC. However, the company expected to resume normal salary cycle from May.

While employees under Rs 6 lakh gross annual CTC are protected, those between 6-12 lakh CTC will get 50% of the gross monthly CTC (taxable salary plus reimbursements), subject to a minimum of Rs 50k. The employees with CTC above Rs 12 lakh will get only 25% of the gross monthly CTC (taxable salary plus reimbursements), subject to a minimum of Rs 50k.

In a related development, Hindi news channel News Nation has asked its entire English digital team of 15 people to leave. The sacked employees accused the channel of not giving them termination notice or not being allowed to serve their notice period.

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