SBI asks 70,000 associate bank employees to return overtime compensation

NPA-laden public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) has asked all its zonal branches to recover the ‘compensation’ given for overtime during demonetisation to 70,000-odd employees of various associate banks in a move that would help the lender garner around Rs157.50 crore. 

These officials were inducted into SBI post-merger and, according to the SBI management they are not entitled to the compensation as it was for the period before merger, when the associated banks were not part of the SBI.
During the demonetisation period, bank employees were paid compensation for working beyond 7 pm between 14 November and 30 December 2016. They were paid an “out-of-pocket expense” that varied between Rs15,000 and Rs30,000, depending on the scale and rank of officials.
For 70,000 officials the total compensation could work out to around Rs157.50 crore based on an average Rs22,500 per official.
“The claim related to the period prior to the merger of e-ABs (erstwhile Associate Banks) should have been dealt by e-ABs at the material time and we have no record of any commitment to pay the same,” SBI said in an internal communication.
The communication also asked the officers to “examine under what circumstances approval was given for the payment of compensation to the officers of e-ABs”. It further asked to “recover where wrong payments have been made.”
Over 70,000 officers and employees became part of the SBI when its associate banks - State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur - merged with the parent on April 1, 2017.
The move has drawn ire of staff of all the associated banks, as they feel discriminated.
The bank staff had been promised "overtime compensation" by the employer banks for the "extra hours" they worked post-demonetisation. The 70,000 officers and employees of banks like State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur - these all merged with the SBI on 1 April 2017 - got the compensation but now they are being asked to "return the compensation for extra work".
The SBI has issued a communication to all the zonal headquarters saying that only "its own employees" and not those, who were employees of the erstwhile associate banks (E-Ab), were supposed to get the money for extra work.