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How agencies are helping employees and families affected by pandemic

As thousands continue to suffer due to the second Covid wave, we find out how agencies are reaching out to affected families and employees

The second wave of Covid-19 has hit the country harder than anyone could have imagined. With the situation critical around us all, agencies are doing their bit to take care of their employees’ well-being and look after infected people and their families.

While many companies have announced health-related services for their employees, agencies are also following suit. Many agencies had since last year started various schemes—including initiatives for mental and physical health—to look after their employees but the programmes have had to be revised as the situation continues to get more intense.

Raj Kamble

Raj Kamble, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Famous Innovation, said they increased the sick leaves of employees who test positive to 15 days. They are motivating recovered employees to donate plasma by offering them Rs 10,000 as a bonus.

Kamble said they are working actively with two NGOs to donate a chunk of their April and May earnings towards Covid efforts and will hand over increments for 2021 to boost the morale of employees. “We are already covering vaccination costs of all employees and their immediate family. In case of emergencies, employees can take one or two months of salaries in advance.”

Apart from this, since 2020, every person at the agency has got Covid-related insurance, which includes hospitalisation of employees, spouses and children. People in junior levels have got salary hikes to help them work from home. Salaries of those in the senior management, who had got a pay cut last year, have been restored in February this year.

Discussing these measures, Kamble said, “We are not doing any favour because these are the people who helped us build our company over the last eight years. I am very happy and proud doing whatever I can and this is the time everyone must come together and every company should do it.” He said some companies fired hundreds of employees but are now claiming to cover the vaccination costs of staff, which is just a few hundred rupees and does not make sense.

Rammohan Sundaram

Rammohan Sundaram, Country Head and Managing Partner, Integrated Media, at DDB Mudra Group, shared on LinkedIn their initiatives, which include measures such as covering the vaccination costs and 15 days of leave for infected people. Sundaram said they have set up an internal task force that is updating live verified medical resources and announced four working days in a week for the month of May.

Dentsu has also announced a number of initiatives to help their employees navigate the crisis such as a 10-day pandemic leave, availability of in-house doctors for people who might need it and two years annual salary to the families of employees who have lost their lives. They have partnered with hotel chains to provide isolation services and pharmaceutical chains to provide discounted medicines. The agency is also sourcing medical-grade oxygen concentrators and providing assistance in case of emergency.

Anand Bhadkamkar

Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO India, dentsu, said, “Keeping our people safe during the pandemic has been our primary concern. We have been following a globally consistent approach that empowers our markets to make the best decisions to protect their people, aligned to local government guidance. In India, our teams have been working from home for many months. In addition, we also have a number of local initiatives in place to support our teams.”

The Mumbai-based Makani Creatives has also announced paid leaves with full resources of whatever employees would need in terms of economic and medical support.

Ritesh Singh

Arm Worldwide has amplified its employee wellness programme. Ritesh Singh, Co-Founder and MD, Arm Worldwide, addressed the staff recently and said all employees are covered under the corporate mediclaim policy and that the medical health insurance coverage for married couples has been significantly raised.

The agency is offering an extended 15 days of paid leave for infected people to recover completely. They have also announced four working days in a week for the month of May to let the employees take care of themselves and their families.

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