FinMin asks PSBs, insurers to postpone staff promotions

The advisory states that the promotion process has coincided with a spike in Covid-19 cases across the country along with localised lockdowns.

The finance ministry has asked public sector banks (PSBs) to postpone the annual exercise of promoting and transferring their staff in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The advisory issued by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) states that the promotion process has coincided with a spike in Covid-19 cases across the country along with localised lockdowns and an increase in micro-containment zones.

As there are cases of bank employees or their family members being hospitalised due to Covid-19, bank, insurance companies and financial institutions must take cognizance of the issue, the advisory issued by DFS said.

All government-owned financial institutions must take appropriate steps to ensure that the promotion process factors in the constraints faced by employees, and provide them an adequate opportunity for participation in the promotion process, it said.

The advisory states that postponement of the promotion process may also be considered.

The steps have been taken as the country faces the deadliest second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the promotion process involves the physical presence of employees, said a public sector banker.

“The advisory has been issued to avoid a situation where all employees do not get the opportunity to participate in the promotion process,” he said.

However, most banks have completed the promotion exercise and some have even transferred their employees by end-March, another public sector banker said.

The execution of transfers has also happened in various cases, but there aren’t many relocations at lower rungs.

Three public sector banks Business Standard reached out to said these lenders have completed the promotion process, but have kept promotion involving relocation or transfer on hold.

The advisory was issued by the government after completion of the process, they added.

Last year too, banks had faced a similar challenge. Staff that was promoted and transferred moved to their new location only after improvement in the Covid-19 situation.

IDBI Bank — now a private lender in which the government continues to hold a substantial stake — is in the midst of the promotion exercise.

At lower rungs, written tests are over and interviews are to be conducted, bank executives said.

However, these would be done through virtual mode. It will keep the transfers to a bare minimum to avoid inconvenience to employees and families during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, bank executives said.

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