Cognizant is changing working hours and leave policy

  • Cognizant Technology Solutions is officially moving to the 9-hour workday for India-based workforce from its current 8-hour working hours.
  • Cognizant has also enhanced its leave policy by increasing the number of paid leaves annually to 36 from 26.
  • CTS working hours policy is effective from February 15 of this year

According to an official of the CTS, the company has over 75 per cent of its 2.90 lakh employees working in India. As of December 2020, Cognizant’s offshore utilization excluding trainees was 87 per cent. To reduce employee utilization rate, Cognizant is officially increasing the working hours to 9 hours a day.

IT companies determine the Utilization Rate by Total Billable Hours divided by Total Available Hours. A 9-hour workday model would essentially increase the Total Available Hours and decrease the utilization rate.

It is not very common in IT Industry to have a greater than 8 hours workday, and in fact, Cognizant has a history where employees from a specific project were asked to work 9+ hours a day in India. IT Union NDLF came in support for employees and filed a labour complaint in 2016 explaining that Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) office in Tambaram near Chennai made logging of 9 hours (excluding lunch break) a day compulsory for employees working in its ‘XL Catlin’ project. 

According to Cognizant CEO “New CTS working hours policy will bring the company on par with its industry peers like Tata Consultancy Services. Company will continue to look at utilization and track it and understand how these dynamics play in.”

He also added “The utilization levels are quite high. We are at the stage now that our benches are light and are committed to building that out. We continue to build out our capabilities with evergreen skills and build upon our capabilities such that we can reduce utilization.”

Cognizant New leave policy

Cognizant has also improved its leave policy by increasing the number of paid leaves annually to 36 from 26. According to Cognizant spokesperson, “These changes will help the company level the field with competitors in fulfilling client expectations of agile and accelerated development, while significantly improving employee work-life balance,”

Statement from Indian IT Blog – “Is it something to increase billing hours, or lower the utilization rate to showcase clients that the company has the ready workforce to work on any project aligning what most of Indian IT companies did in the years of 2000?. I appreciate Cognizant’s decision to increase the annual leave but again encourage Software Engineers and IT professionals to take care of physical and mental health. It’s equally important as the Billion dollar deals”.

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