[sbinews] SBI readies exit option for `frustrated' staff (Businessline)

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SBI readies exit option for `frustrated' staff
Sarbajeet K. Sen
(Businessline)
New Delhi , Jan. 18

BARELY a few years after the industry-wide voluntary retirement scheme (VRS)
in public sector banks, it could be time now for some pinpointed surgical
operations to reduce manpower.

In what could have wider repercussions in the industry, the country's
premier bank - State Bank of India (SBI) - is readying itself for the
implementation of an `exit option' aimed at shedding staff who are
"frustrated and de-motivated due to lack of career prospects."

The exit option aims at all staff segments including officers, clerks and
other subordinate staff who are over 50 years and who have been stagnating
in their existing grades for certain specified number of years.

The Ministry of Finance has recently cleared the detailed scheme for the
exit option. "The scheme aims at removing the deadwood. We have given our
`no objection' to it," a senior official said.

However, SBI has said that scheme is not aimed at `right-sizing' of
manpower, but would seek to "improve the level of morale of the bank." The
management has, therefore, reserved the right to fill the vacancies caused
by such retirements, unlike the earlier VRS scheme where banks were barred
from filling up vacancies arising out of the scheme.

Under the exit option, officers who have not been promoted to the next
higher grade after four chances would be eligible, while for the clerical
cadre, the offer would be limited to those who have not been promoted as
officers in the junior management grade scale-I after four chances.

For subordinate cadre employees, the offer would be restricted to those who
are "under-matriculate and therefore ineligible for promotion or those who
are matriculate but have not been promoted to the clerical grade".

The scheme specifies that "a chance" shall mean "that employee falls within
the basket or zone of consideration for promotion to the immediately next
higher grade/cadre and is not promoted."

Apart from the normal terminal dues, pecuniary benefits under the scheme
would include ex-gratia payment of salary last drawn for 50 per cent of
service remaining up to the age of 60 years as on the date of retirement
subject to a maximum of 36 months.

Beside this, the bank has decided to give the exiting employees the benefit
of repayment of housing loans after retirement. All other outstanding dues
to the bank would, however, have to be paid or would be adjusted against
ex-gratia.

Moreover, the employee would be allowed to avail of perks such as
residential accommodation and telephone till two months after retirement. In
such case, 50 per cent of the ex-gratia would be released after surrender of
the facilities.

The scheme also bars employees exercising the exit option for re-employment
in the bank or its subsidiaries, associates or joint ventures. In the case
of those officers who have not completed the mandatory rural or semi-urban
assignment, the earlier promotions would stand withdrawn at the time of
submitting the application.


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