HCL asks employees to return Performace Bonus; IT Union files complaint against it

HCL Technologies, an Indian IT major, has asked its employees who are resigning to repay the performance bonuses. These bonuses were granted to employees every month during the financial year. However, it has sparked a controversy in the IT sector.

HCL Tech has said that it is not doing anything new which employees are unaware of. The demand to return the performance bonuses is turning out to be onerous as many employees have already spent it. Besides, some HCL employees have also approached the IT Employees Union.

In an email sent to its employees in November, HCL Tech said the Employee Performance Bonus (EFB) will be paid every month and paid as an advance.

“If the employees resign, and the last working day is between September 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, the company will recover EFB amount in full from April 2021 until the employee’s last working day,” said the company.

“Supporting employees is HCL’s top priority. The company has a strict global compliance policy whereby relevant applicable laws, including those applicable to employees, are adhered to as per the laws of the countries we operate in. We would like to record that the matter around the recovery of performance bonuses has been incorrectly reported. As a law-bidding company, HCL Tech follows the best HR practices and continues to honor commitments and work fairly and equitably towards employees and all,” said a spokesperson of the company.

Harpreet Saluja, President, NITES, a Pune-based IT-ITeS union, has written a letter to labor minister Bhupender Yadav and stated that the union had received several complaints from HCL employees across the country on the matter.

While describing HCL’s policy to recover the performance bonus as “iniquitous, arbitrary and harsh,” he said, “If the employees fail to pay the amount of bonus, their employment documents are withheld by the company.”

He added that it is also noted that the recovery policy without any statutory approval results in hardship and far outweighs the equitable balance of the employer’s right to recover.

HCL Technologies is currently facing a whistleblower lawsuit in the US, accusing it of wage theft and underpaying H-1B visa workers by at least 95 million USD a year.