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Downturn in Christmas breaks

Human resource sources in multinational firms and foreign banks reveal that many executives are letting go their paid-leaves and cancelling annual December vacations as they fear that they may not have a job to return to, reports Mahua Venkatesh.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2008 23:59 IST
Mahua Venkatesh
Mahua Venkatesh
Hindustan Times

With Citigroup the latest to tremble in the financial meltdown, panic has gripped executives in foreign banks operating in India. Once the darling paymasters, these banks are now scanning their top-level staff to cut costs — and a big casualty is the annual holiday these high-flyers typically enjoy around Christmas.

Many fear a holiday may bring bad news that might make their return to their jobs difficult — or impossible.

Human resource sources in multinational firms told Hindustan Times that many executives, especially in foreign banks, are letting go their paid-leaves and cancelling annual December vacations, staying at work in a month when their offices typically report 50 per cent occupancy.

Some HR executives said over 95 per cent of the workforce would be reporting to work throughout the month, unlike other years.

“There is a fear psychosis among all employees. People are scared to go on leave. They want to be physically present to retain their jobs,” an HR executive at a multinational company said.

“I have cancelled my leave though I was rated a good performer last month. It is not just important to perform well in the current scenario. One does not know what is in store,” said a senior official at a foreign bank.

“It is a stressful time and things may become worse in the coming months,” said Arjun Srivastava, consultant at global executive search firm Egon Zehnder International.

First Published: Nov 24, 2008 23:48 IST