In an effort to provide their employees with a way to satiate their social consciousness, organisations are initiating innovative ways through which they can encourage their employees to be socially-responsible citizens
‘I wish I could do something for the society, but I have so little time!’ Does this statement ring a bell? It very well does, as this is what every working professional thinks and tries to get away guilt free when it comes to fulfilling his/her social obligations towards the society in general. We also con ourselves into believing that there is nothing that we can do except sign a cheque or donate clothes the next time a tsunami or earthquake comes up in some part of the country.
However, sit back and re-evaluate the above statements, as they are all a thing of the past. What we are telling you is that there is an easy way to not just donate a particular sum of money from your monthly salary to a charity of your choice, but also track how every rupee has been spent - that too from your desk? Think it’s a scam? It isn’t. It's called payroll giving (PRG).
“Payroll giving is a wonderful way to provide employees with an opportunity to give back to the society; monthly deductions provide employees with the ease of donating through small amounts. The list of options provided to employees helps them plan their donation based on what they wish to contribute. The options provided cover all areas of target and intervention, thus allowing the employee to choose a cause that he/she believes in,” says Mandeep Maitra, country head, HR and CSR, HDFC Bank. Talking more on the topic of payroll giving/donation, Shruti Tandon, manager HR, Nagarro Software Pvt Ltd says, “It’s a noble idea, which enables us to fulfil our social responsibilities at a time when life is so fast that even though we have an inclination to extend a helping hand towards others, because of a lack of time and correct platform, we are unable to do so. Giving a small portion of one’s salary satisfies in part the social urge of the employee and in the process, helps the community at large.”
In case an employee is interested in the PRG programme of the organisation, all he/she needs to do is approach your boss or the management and let them get in touch with organisations like Give India, United Way and Charities Aid Foundation, which are affiliated to various NGOs and charities. Once the programme has been set up in your organisation, you can get started. Every month, your employer deducts a specified sum from your salary and hands it over to the organisation for disbursal to the designated charity. All donations are completely voluntary and you have full control over the amount you want to give.
To make this practice a success, the organisation too has to take steps, which will encourage the employee to play his/her role towards ensuring the betterment of the society. “All efforts are made to create awareness about the payroll giving programme. The details along with the registration form are included in the joining kit and also hosted on the bank’s intranet. Regular mailers and updates are sent out and drives are carried out in hub locations,” says Maitra.
The employees receive regular updates on how their money has been spent and the impact that the contribution has made. For instance, if you sponsor a child's education, you will be informed of his/her progress through the school. Besides the feedback, the accountability and transparency, not to mention the tax benefits: either 50 per cent or 100 per cent under Section 80G, depending on the NGO you choose, built into the process, also helps assuage fears about one’s money being misused.“Since it’s a voluntary program, employees are free to choose the quantum of contribution and also the amount. It varies depending on the nature of the event towards which the contribution is made and the satisfaction the employee gets that his/her funds are not being misused,” says Tandon.
Talking about examples where the funds of the employees can be used, Ramesh Gajaraju, senior. manager information systems and head, community services, Novell Software Development (I) Pvt. Ltd says, “Generally, when there is a distinct cause, our employees become more active towards the PRG programme. For example: during the floods that hit Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh last year, we managed to donate a handsome sum to the HOPE foundation of which the payroll donation amount was more than 50 per cent of the total amount. However, in our monthly payroll donation programme, no discreet cause is known to the employee. We motivate them through our various CSR activities that keep taking place on a regular basis.”
However, in this time of job hopping, what happens to the amount donated every month, in case the employee decides to switch his/her job from one company to another? In the case where a person moves from a company that has a PRG programme to another one that doesn’t, PRG consultants allow him/her to continue contributions from his/her bank account. So there is nothing much to worry about even if you decide to switch jobs or careers, as you can still do your bit for the human race. So all you have to be armed with is a will to do good for someone else and the inclination to part with a small amount of money from your total salary.
Vinnie Bhadra / timesascent.in