Banks are scrambling to protect their back office workers from India's Covid surge
May 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 22.2%. 2 min read.
A health worker wearing a personal protective equipment (PPE) suits attends a Covid-19 coronavirus patient inside a Covid-19 ward at the SRN hospital, in Allahabad on May 3, 2021. (Photo by SANJAY KANOJIA / AFP) (Photo by SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP via Getty Images)
Big banks and accounting firms do most of their business in New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. But they wouldn't be able to function without their back offices, many of which are located in Covid-stricken India.
Indian companies that provide services to Wall Street are taking additional steps to protect workers in cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Delhi, in some cases establishing Covid care centers for employees and their families.
UK banks Barclays (BCS), NatWest (NWG) and Standard Chartered (SCBFF) are in some cases redirecting work to other countries to relieve pressure on employees in India, many of who have fallen ill or have care responsibilities at home.
Barclays employs roughly 20,000 people in India, making it the bank's largest employee hub outside Britain.
The bank — which employs 13,000 people in India almost exclusively in back office roles — hasn't moved any functions out the country but is extending delivery times for non-essential projects to manage workloads.
In a statement shared with CNN Business, Standard Chartered Bank India said it is providing private transportation to staff who must work in an office, and has been securing hospitalization and other critical care products such as medical oxygen for its employees.
"A significant number of EY people and their family members have been directly impacted by the severe second wave of Covid in India," she told CNN Business.
"We are making sure that all those who have emerging medical needs for themselves or their family members can take time off without having to worry about their leave balance or business continuity," Satyavati Berera, chief operating officer of PwC in India, said in a statement.
Accenture, Deloitte and EY are working with other US companies to provide India with critical medical supplies, vaccines and oxygen through a partnership supported by the US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable.
IT giants in India — such as Infosys (INFY) and Wipro (WIT), which provide business services to companies around the world — have also rushed to provide assistance to employees and ensure their operations continue to run smoothly.