Services startups take steps to protect frontline employees, Technology News, ETtech

Services startups take steps to protect frontline employees
Companies are putting in place special relief funds and novel coronavirus-specific insurance coverage among a host of other initiatives to take care of frontline employees and delivery staff who are working through the ongoing lockdown to contain the pandemic.

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has already instructed all health insurance companies to include medical cover for Covid-19 in all policies, but many on-ground service provider startups including MyGate, Urban Company, Zostel, and 72 Networks are going above and beyond to make sure their employees are protected in more ways.

Bengaluru-based MyGate, a mobile-based security management provider for apartments, has made available a fund of Rs 25 lakh to cover any additional emergency expenses for its employees on top of the existing insurance cover.

Logistics company 72 Networks has introduced a Covid-19-specific plan that gives a cash cover of Rs 1,000 per day to any infected employee or family member during quarantine/hospitalisation. It also covers OPD costs and blood tests. “Being in the logistics space, employees are exposed to multiple people throughout the day; this benefit gives them added protection in these times,” said Srinivas Lingamuthu, cofounder of 72 Networks.

Home services startup Urban Company, formerly UrbanClap, has partnered with Srinidhi Foundation to set up a relief fund to support gig workers and independent contractors on its platform and their families over the next few months. “We have also set up a Rs 11-crore corpus to extend interest-free business advances to service partners, besides providing free Covid-19 health insurance and income protection,” said Abhiraj Singh Bhal, cofounder of Urban Company.

Hostel chain Zostel provides its employees with accurate information about Covid-19 in their vernacular languages and free consultation with doctors across the country. “This is especially helpful for a lot of our blue-collar staff who may not always have internet access,” said Aviral Gupta, chief strategy officer at Zostel.

B2B ecommerce platform Udaan provides sanitisers, masks, fresh juices and immunity-boosting fruits to its employees, and will reimburse the cost of Covid-19 tests as well as medical costs towards illness such as cold, flu, and cough, company cofounder Sujeet Kumar said. “We are constantly innovating to protect the interest of our on-ground staff,” he said.

Earlier, shared living company Stanza Living set up a dedicated contingency fund from employees’ and cofounders’ voluntary contribution. The Rs 10-lakh fund was set up to cover basic medical expenses for any employee in need, in the unfortunate incidence of contraction of Covid-19.

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