IN FOR THE long haul! – Dec 17 2014 : The Times of India (Mumbai) – Ankita Shreeram

`Multi-year job packages’ are the latest innovations on the recruitment scene
We are no stranger to long-term benefits such as gratuity and employee pension plans, which companies institute in order to reward employees with mature tenures. Year-end bonuses and incentives such as variable pay are also routine in the case of many job offers. However, imagine incentives that are structured over a period of three or four years, as a part of your joining contract. Sounds inventive, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what some IT and analytics companies are attempting, according to recent news reports, and it does sound like the next leap in the fight against early attrition.
“At the outset, multi-year packages are not yet popular in India these have been used (sparingly) for very senior-level hires or for hires bringing in very niche skills.The benefit to the organisation would accrue only if a certain area needs stability and they feel that this profile is almost irreplaceable or the cost of hiring is way too high.The benefit to the employee is definitive ¬ he knows he is valued and expected to be contributing to the organisation over a period of time,“ says Kunal Sen, senior VP, TeamLease Services. However, reports indicate that such offers are being doled out to fresh graduates, which indicates that companies don’t mind investing a little faith, if it means fewer quitters.“This kind of package can also be termed as `fixed-term’ assignment and provides for a win-win relationship ¬ the company gets the best out of the individual and the individual gets to work in the domaintechnology of one’s passion,“ feels Paneesh Rao, sr VP & head HR, Atos India.
Multi-year job offers are obviously double-edged.Along with the additional benefits also comes the forced commitment on both sides ¬ for the employee, to stick on if heshe wants to take ad vantage of the long-term benefits; and for the employer, to rethink an inclination to dismiss the employee, considering the benefits already accorded to himher. That makes it difficult to classify such offers as better or worse than conventional packages.
However, such offers are not necessarily just about money . Career milestones may also be predefined in the contracts, which means that employees have that much IMAGESBAZAAR more to look forward to.
“This is also targeted towards the generation Y, which is in the constant phase of evolu tion in their interests and ex perience. Careers are provid ed to them as a bouquet of op portunities, each one with the clear learning mediums, mentors and coaches among others,“ explains Rao. In case a candidate who has bagged a multi-year package quits in between or has aspirations to pursue higher studies, there is normally an exit clause linked to a minimum level of performance for the organi sation and a major financial loss if the employee decides to leave.
One thing is for sure ¬ a multi-year package is a good retention tool. “It at least ar rests frequent changes for frivolous reasons or short gains. Such initiatives will gain momentum in times to come,“ agrees TS Krishnaku mar, COO, IKYA Human Capi tal Solutions. “One of the challenges that companies face today is to keep employ ees `meaningfully’ engaged and interested. Multi-year packages linked to `perform ance’ helps retain the `right talent’; not only assuring the employee of long-term career growth but also ensuring that they understand that per formance and achieving measurable business goals would ensure progression,“ concludes Divakar Kaza, president, HR, Lupin Limited.
So, while the industry is still treading carefully, multi year job offers are certainly an innovative solution to the hassle of high attrition.

Source : The Economic times
Date : 17th Dec 2014

Disruption Halts Insurance Bill in RS – New Delhi: Our Political Bureau IANS

The bill to raise foreign investment in the insurance sector to 49% could not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday as the Opposition stalled proceedings over the conversion issue and schools functioning on Christmas Day. The Upper House was not able to transact any other business either.
The ruckus started as soon as the House met for the day in the morning. Opposition members were on their feet, protesting over attempts of Sangh Parivar outfits to undertake `Ghar Vapsi’ programme in different parts of Uttar Pradesh.The issue had seen the House stalled on Monday too.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury informed Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien that he had a copy of the circular asking some schools to remain open on the Christmas Day. Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav said: “There are repeated incidents. No action is being taken by the government, and you are asking us to just discuss it.“
An angry minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi accused the Opposition of “running away from discussion“.
“Those who don’t want to discuss can just leave,“ he said, repeatedly emphasising the government was ready to take up a debate. “You are insulting the mandate of the people,“ Naqvi added. Congress and Samajwadi Party MPs then trooped near the Chairman’s podium. In the din, the House was adjourned for 15 minutes. The scene remained the same when the House reassembled.
“We cannot accept the kind of comments ruling party MPs are making,“ Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said but Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed the Opposition for “running away from a debate“.
Kurien repeatedly urged the members to calm down, and said: “Parliament is for discussion, not for shouting.“ for shouting.“
Unrelenting Opposition members, however, continued to raise slogans near the Chairman’s podium, forcing the deputy chairman to adjourn the House till noon. At noon, when Chairman Hamid Ansari started the question hour, members continued protests, despite repeated pleas from the chair to let the questions be taken up.
“In this House, the prime minister made a statement, after a comment by a minister.He said he has spoken in tough words to his MPs, but the MPs are still making statements which are spreading a fire in the country,“ Agarwal said.

Source : The Economic Times
Date : 17th Dec 2014

Get ready for a cut in group health benefits

New Irda norms may push up prices for group covers, making it difficult for employers to foot the bill.

it’s likely that your group health insurance benefits were curtailed a couple of years ago, with employers taking steps to cut costs. Come 1 January 2015, these may witness a further reduction with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) releasing a new set of guidelines on pricing of risks for group products. Says V. Jagannathan, Chairman and Managing Director, Star Health and Allied Insurance: “The new method of determining pricing might push up the prices, more so because the group policies are currently underpriced.“ This will not only prompt the insurers to raise premium rates but, subsequently, employers may also cut down on the benefits or ask you to share a part of the premium cost. Says Arvind Laddha, CEO, Vantage Insurance Brokers: “In cases where the claims ratio is adverse and increase in premium is very high, corporates may be compelled to resort to such options.“ If your employer introduces such restrictions, you should consider buying an independent or a top-up cover to bridge the gap.

Independent policies

The corporate covers are inadequate, with most companies offering family floater plans of `3-5 lakh. Experts have always recommended purchasing independent covers, irrespective of a group health policy.They come in handy when you switch jobs or after retirement, when it is difficult to buy a standalone cover. Moreover, a simpler claim settlement process for those covered under multiple policies makes it even more desirable. If your group sum insured were to dip below `3 lakh, independent health policies might become indispensable.

Top-up covers

If you cannot afford an individual health insurance policy, you could consider buying a top-up cover, which gets triggered only after the base cover is exhausted. “If the base cover is `3 lakh, it is ideal to go for a top-up plan. It is a cheaper option and will protect you against large payouts,“ says Jagannathan.

Critical illness policies

These policies sold by life and general insurers are also important. They not only reimburses the high medical costs in treating critical illnesses, such as cancer, cardiac conditions and stroke, but also hand out a lump-sum recuperation benefit. Moreover, the claim procedure is simple. The sum insured is released once the illness has been diagnosed. However, some products come with a survival clause, where the amount is paid only after a 30-day survival period. The cover could also cease once the claim has been settled.

Senior citizens’ covers

Till recently, only parental coverage had borne the brunt of the cost-cutting initiatives of employers for group health policies.This, despite the fact that it is a source of comfort for employees, as those in the higher age brackets tend to need health insurance the most. However, higher claims from parents is the reason some companies de cided to scrap this cover. Some others gave their employees the option to bear the premium cost for the parents’ health insurance. If your company allows you to do so, go for it, notwithstanding the amount of premium you have to pay. Since claim settlement in group health insurance is always easier, the cover will serve your purpose.

If your parents are over 60 years, you can also consider buying a specialised senior citizen cover instead of a regular one. Make sure you evaluate the sub-limits and waiting periods for specific ailments listed in the policy. Besides, the co-pay ratio–where the insured has to bear a part of the premium and is usually an in-built feature of such policies-should be a key parameter while choosing a product. “You must also consider the current health condition of your parents. If they are suffering from a specific ailment, such as diabetes or cardiac conditions, they should consider buying a policy that is tailored to address their medical conditions,“ says Laddha.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 01-12-2014