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With a woman at helm, fairer HR policies likely at SBI

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 23:31

Mumbai: Female employees at SBI can look forward to fairer HR policies as the bank's first woman chief Arundhati Bhattacharya Tuesday hinted at allowing staff to avail of long sabbaticals, among other initiatives.

"Being a woman myself, I think women employees have special problems. I will definitely try to be more sensitive to that," Bhattacharya said at her maiden interaction with reporters after taking over the reins of the country's biggest bank.

The 57-year-old Bhattacharya also hinted at easing transfer norms for couples, saying the organisation has to understand the changing work environment and culture wherein both partners work.

"We will do away with the cap of two transfers during a career to a location where the spouse is located, as there is a need to let couples work and stay together due to which we need to do away with the provision," she said, adding that a decision has not yet been taken though it was discussed yesterday.

"We are trying to make it possible for people to stay together. We realise that today all the people, and especially the youngsters who are coming into the job stream, both the partners work. When both work, we need to be sensitive to the needs of both," she said.

Bhattacharya also said as the head of the bank's investment banking arm SBI Caps, she had made a provision of a sabbatical of up to 6 years for women on first-come-first- served basis, with a cap of 5 percent of employees going on such long unpaid leaves at a given time.

The case with SBI Caps, which is a young organisation with a median age of 27, is very different from that of SBI, where the median age is much higher, she said.

At SBI, a woman can take an unpaid leave of up to 13 months for child birth, she said, adding that other events like the child's secondary examinations and elderly falling sick also require time-off.

Bhattacharya said men also have to contribute to such household exigencies and hence are given the option of sabbatical at SBI Caps.

Asked about who is the boss at her home, Bhattacharya put the question to the SBI top deck accompanying her for the interaction which included three MDs-- Hemant Contractor, S Vishvanathan and A Krishna Kumar.

As the three MDs looked at each other Bhattacharya quipped to a loud laughter: "In my house also it is the same."

"I have not created it only for women, I have also created it for men. Men can also take leave and help their wives if it is so required," she said.

She conceded that the size of SBI, which has over 2.25 lakh employees, makes the implementation of such schemes very difficult but promised to look into all the aspects with as much sensitivity.


First Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 23:31
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