The government has made major allowances for public sector employees by giving preferential treatment in transfers to women staff separated from families. It has also asked banks to reintroduce 'compassionate employees' for relatives of employees who die in service and has asked the Indian Banks Association to to include a board-approved employee home loan scheme as part of wage negotiations.
The move on transfers will come as a relief to thousands of women bank staff, but could cause some operational upheaval in short-term. The freedom to structure a favorable home loan scheme for employees will enable banks deploy surplus funds and provide a boost to housing.
In a circular to all banks, the department of financial services gas said that "female employees when placed/transferred away from their husband or parents to distant locations face a genuine hardship and develop a feeling of insecurity."
It added that banks should as far as possible place or transfer female employees at a place where her husband is stationed as near to the place or vice versa. Similarly unmarried employees should be posted near their parents place.
"PSBs are therefore advised to frame a policy on the subject with the approval of their board suitably incorporating the above and take immediate action for implementation and compliance. Pending requests may be considered under these guidelines," the circular said.
'Compassionate employment' or employment to the the children or spouses of employees who die in service was a facility that was available earlier but discontinued after 2004-05. The finance ministry circular addressed to the chairman of the Indian Banks Association states that the government has approved the opening of compassionate appointment in public sector banks in lines of the central government with effect from August 5. It has also discontinued the provision of ex-gratia payment in lieu of such appointments.
On the issue of transfer of women employees a senior executive with a public sector bank said "When recruiting employees it is made clear to them that the bank job is transferrable and the employees will be transferred wherever their services are required. Most of the candidates accept the initial posting as their priority to get employed. But once they are confirmed they put in their request for transfers.". Some bankers say that the new policy might compel banks to relook at their hiring. At present the hiring is largely on merit and the domicile of those qualifying in the competitive exams do not often match that of the regions where the vacancies are.