Hello, I have an interesting case of an employee who was on leave while the lockdown announced and after coming back from leave on 23rd March, she is not having laptop or system to work from home. Her Team lead did not arrange for her system to work from home which is a miss from him. Now she is not working. she is ready to work but there is no laptop for her. Should we still pay her April month salary or should it be leave without pay.
From India, Mumbai
Dear Kalpana,
It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that employees are well accoutred. For the execution of the duties, if certain assets or tools are required then it is the management's responsibility to provide that. Failure to do so is not a fault of the employee.
Why this incident is linked to the disbursement of the salary is not understood. Imagine a situation wherein the employee had reported for the duty but company could not provide the laptop because her laptop is unserviceable and there is no standby laptop. For the idle hours that she passes while on duty, should her salary be deducted? Certainly not.
In the factories, the workers remain idle because of the breakdown of the machines or non-availability fo the raw material. Should the workers' salary be forfeited since they did not give any output? Certainly not!
It would be improper to make someone scapegoat for one's mistakes. Nevertheless, you may take disciplinary action against the team lead for his failure to arrange the laptop. But even while taking disciplinary action also, be cautious. First, check whether he was empowered to allot the laptop to her not or how much time it would have taken to get the approval from the approving authority to issue the laptop. If the culpability of the team leader is clearly established then only initiate the disciplinary action. Again don't ever think of recovering lost salary of the woman employee from the Team Leader.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

The present period is one of unprecedented crisis for the nation.
WFH is an authorised option in such situations of crisis.
Question of treating month of April as leave without pay would be highly irregular and contrary to govt directives.

From India, Pune
Dear madam,
With due respect to you madam, I have a counter question. What is your take as an HR professional, when you see clearly that either team lead or even you showed complete in - action in facilitating providing her laptop at home?
Obviously, you cannot punish her for the Management's lapse. You need to pay her full salary for non- worked period.
It is not known, but she will deserve it more if she had also asked for the LT and you failed to give one.
Hope you have arranged now for laptop and other relevant tools to avoid facing the same situation.
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai

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