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Supporting Associates in Times of Crisis – the EPAM Way

At EPAM, we believe that people are the key to building a unique culture and achieving success. With that in mind, we've developed several programs to attract, engage and develop the best people, programs that tie together EPAM’s shared values and individual success.

EPAM India’s introduction of the Voluntary Leave Donation Policy (VLDP) is one such effort. 

We spoke with Shashikanth Bondugula, Head of HR for EPAM India, about why this unique idea was introduced and how it works.

What is Voluntary Leave Donation Policy (VLDP)?

VLDP is a policy under which an EPAM India associate may voluntarily donate their earned leaves to another associate who is undergoing a personal or medical crisis and has exhausted his/her personal leave balance. 

What was the objective behind this policy?

One of the key values of EPAM culture is that we always "Act as a team." When one team member faces a crisis, then the entire team stands behind that member and supports them. Emergency events occur without warning and knowing that your team has your back in such a crisis is always reassuring. VLDP was conceptualized keeping this value in mind.

A lot of us accumulate leaves and sometimes don't end up using them. If those unused leaves could benefit another associate in times of a crisis, then it just seems like the right thing to do.

How does this policy work?

We have defined a detailed process for associates to avail this benefit. Some key steps involved in this policy workflow are:

  • Associate submits their application for availing VLDP to a panel (made up of immediate reporting manager and the HR Team).
  • A detailed investigation of the case is done by the panel to determine the authenticity, urgency and a permissible number of leaves to sanction. This is done within a stipulated amount of time.
  • Once the application is approved, a request for donation is sent out to all India associates.
  • Associates then contribute leaves as per their wish and discretion.
  • Once the requisite number of leaves are collected, they are then credited to the associate in need.

Are there any kinds of limitations to avail VLDP?

VLDP is available to all EPAM India associates. However, some checks have been put in place to ensure that this benefit is utilized in the way it is meant to be. Some of these checks are:

  • VLDP can be availed by associates who have completed a minimum of 6 months of tenure with EPAM.
  • An associate is eligible to apply for a VLDP only once in a year.
  • Associates are not permitted to donate more than half of their annual leaves.
  • And as mentioned earlier, VLDP can only be availed for a personal or medical crisis only.

How many associates have availed this policy so far?

It's been 6 months since we have launched this policy, and 8 EPAMers have availed this benefit so far. Associates have donated close to 70 leaves in this period! The fact that so many associates, who may or may not have a direct connect with the leave recipient, have donated their leaves heartily goes to show that we practice the values we preach. This is a true representation of the Culture of Togetherness at EPAM India. 

Testimonials from Associates who have availed VLDP:

“After having been diagnosed with a chronic illness, I had to undergo a couple of surgeries followed by an extended treatment and recovery period. This was exhausting both physically and financially, since an extended leave meant a Loss of Pay too.

While I was in the middle of my treatment, VLDP was introduced and it turned out to be a savior for me. The whole process of availing the leave was seamless and so many people were donating their leave. At least now I did not have to worry about LOP while fighting my medical battles.

Thanks to Shashi and team for being so thoughtful and introducing this policy. It is very helpful and a kind gesture of showing support towards the associates who are in critical need".