Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
KK!HR
Management Consultancy
Bharat Gera
Principal Hr Consultant
Nathrao
Insolvency N Gst Professional
+1 Other

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Hi All,
One incident happened in our office where an employee with poor financial conditions was facing the critical situation. His father was admitted in the hospital ICU. He urgently required the financial help for the further treatment. One of the employee sent an email to entire group to inform the need of funds for needy employee. Needy employee really needed funds as it was verified. There was no initiative took by the HR in this regards.
But for the sake of Humanity, 2 employees took the initiative and collected funds in the form of donation from the office staff (went desk to desk). According to the salary scales of the employees the minimum amount of donation was set like for associate level employees Rs 200, Team leads Rs.500 and the managers Rs.1000. We collected total 30K funds and sent to needy employee.
On this the HR disagreed stating that the step taken was not correct as per HR norms because it will set an expectation level among the rest employees if they/their family get sick in future. HR said that is why I was silent on this issue.
Please tell us that being a HR:
1. Did we do wrong?
2. What should have our HR done after reading donation requirement email?
3. Is this right that in future employees will set expectation and is that right that we should not have helped needy employee?
4. Shall we stay quite and simply pay our donation whatever we were feeling like even the donation amount would be 1 to 2 thousands only?
Please do let us know. I am not from HR field and feeling sad even after doing good act, I am being criticized. Let me know if it is really wrong, I will be ok with that as well.

Please tell us that being a HR - is a typo.... It means being an HR please let us know asked questions.....I was one of those 2 employees who took initiative, I am not HR
Dear Non-HR friend,
When an employee is under financial distress, he/she might approach his/her employer asking for monetary help. This could be in the form of either financial loan or ex gratia. While former has obligation of repayment but latter does not.
In company's your case, the needy employee should have approached for ex gratia. Did he put formal application? Possibly not.
You say that one of the employees circulated mail to help the needy employee. To circulate the mail, the official means of communication was used and the collection of money also happened in the office premises. Nevertheless, employees who gave contribution, it was in their personal capacity. Some form of informal dealings take place in the office premises and employer cannot have 100% control over it.
From your post, it can be deduced that employer became upset because activity of money collection was done in the office premises. Whether employer contributed anything or not is known but probably there was no contribution. Now employer has a fear that administration of the company might be perceived as impervious or inclement. He must have expressed his fear to HR. Hence HR's view that the collection of contribution was wrong.
Anyway, whatever happened cannot be undone. All of you have done what felt was noble. Debate on whether HR was right or wrong is meaningless. Forget the incident and move on!
Thanks,
Dinesh Divekar

HR should not be totally rule bound and mechanical in application of rules.
Rules are for guidance as well as implementation.But between the lines if help can be rendered,why not?
Collection of money from employees personally is a thing which can be winked at and HR can remain unaware officially.(in this case as event has already taken place)
After a few days HR can suggest to higher management a scheme of ex gratia or loan to employees facing dire emergencies.
HR can also subtly indicate to employee not to use company email id for such purposes and not to go about fund raising in company premises..
Health emergencies are likely at any time.
This opportunity can be used to educate employees to plan for health insurance,putting aside some amount for rainy days and future needs.
Coming specifically back to this incident,HR may be right in their own way as such collection of money may give rise to further such demands in emergencies and employees may be reluctant resulting in bad interpersonal relations.
Being helpful is always good but within parameters of administration.
Best thing HR can now do is to frame a scheme based on their financial health of the company for approval of higher up official and on a genuine education scheme to advice employees to keep aside money for emergency and as financial savings in right instruments.
These schemes and education is for purely voluntary learning and action by employees at their discretion without further advice/encouragement by company.

In an establishment there exist three types mechanism to provide help and assistance to an employee who is passing under financial distress;
1. Company grants loan
2. Loan from credit co-operative society run by the employee.
3. Financial assistance collected by the employee
The first kind of assistance is processed on application made by the employee seeking financial help as he is in distress. It is unfortunate to say that the extending financial help to employee hardly available in time or takes longer time to process or not at all happening.
In many establishments employees are having their credit co-operative society, from where an employee gets loan as per the norms to meet the eventuality.
The employees collectively take a call to help the person in distress by collecting fund from co-employees, where all these are absent.
In general employees pursue this type of idea with the help of HR department. In the instant case the HR department should see it in a different view as action initiated for a dying person. The more dig on part of HR will burst up with industrial unrest. The positive HR should take this as an eye-opener and to act to start a facility in the establishment, if not existing for welfare of the employee.

Dear Friend,
In this particular case HR should have acted smartly, on knowing the process the HR should have discussed with the management, get some amount sanctioned and paid to the employee along with the amount collected by the employees directly in a gathering organized. In that specific forum the HR can appreciate the good work done by the employees for the noble cause and to communicate that this type of process is against the discipline in any organization and inform them that in case of such exigencies the matter should be brought to the notice of HR so that they can take it up with the Management.
By doing this both the purposes are being served like appreciating the good work done by some of the employees and restricting the repetition of such acts by explaining them the organizational interest and the discipline part involved.
Thanks and regards
kamesh

As HR, we should not pay a blind eye to the needs or circumstances surrounding fellow employees. As humans sometimes issues (difficulties in particular) surrounding us deter our thinking capacity and performance at work. The scenario under discussion deserves 'thumbs up' for it clearly shows that in that work environment the workers care and have concern for one another, which should not be discouraged.
The action one of the employees took is equal to STAFF MOTIVATING & UPLIFTING FELLOW STAFF.
In my workplace we have given a go-ahead to such noble causes especially in cases where the employer is not obliged to offer financial assistance. Situations calling for such are analysed by a committee of ordinary staff members who are not part of management. Once agreed that there should be a collection, whatever is collected, a list of names against amount, is handed over to HR for onward forwarding to concerned staff and record keeping.
If therefore, this was the first instance in the work place under discussion, HR should assess what transpired and set guidelines rather than reprimand, despise and discourage the initiator.
I only hope the HR disagreed because he/she was not the initiator and did not see the need for assistance.
Sometimes for change to take place something has to happen.

HR was officially informed about the financial need to the employee. HR was also on email thread sent by one of the employee ( as I discussed above).
If you are a HR and you would receive such request what would be your next move?

Couple of employees also went to HR kinda complaining about we collecting the funds and setting a minimum limit (although it was not forced) though we did insist.
Dear Colleague,
I do not see why HR should frown upon the spontaneous action by well meaning colleagues to help their coworker in distress in collecting contribution at workplace.
In fact as good management , they should have some Insurance scheme in place to take care of such health emergencies.
In this case HR should have shown sensitivity in taking initiative and push decision makers for financial assistance to the needy at least equal to the voluntarily collected sum of contribution by the colleagues.
For future, HR should develop suitable policy to take care of such vital health emergencies.
Regards,
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR- Consultant


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