SBI asks 70,000 pre-merger associate bank employees to return demonetisation overtime payment

NEW DELHI: The largest public sector lender State Bank of India has ordered all its zonal branches to recover the ‘compensation’ given for overtime during demonetisation to 70,000-odd officers of various associate banks that were inducted into SBI post-merger.

During the demonetisation period, bank employees were paid compensation for working beyond 7 pm between November 14 and December 30, 2016. They were paid an “out-of-pocket expense” that varied between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000, depending on the scale and rank of officials.

The SBI management said that the compensation was for the period before merger, when the associated banks were not part of the SBI.

“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.

Meanwhile, the employees said that this has drawn the ire of staff of all the associated banks, as they feel discriminated.

“This is totally unfair. We have worked day and night during demonetisation and it is not something that was given as a charity or bonus. The move by SBI management is totally unfair, it will lower the morale of the staff further,” an SBI employee who has joined from the State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur said.

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