HBL to pay for employees’ Covid-19 treatment

KARACHI: Habib Bank Ltd. (HBL) will pay for any Covid-19 related medical expenses of employees and their dependents, according to an internal circular issued by the bank.

In a circular issued by the bank’s human resources department on June 25, signed by Chief Human Resources Officer Jamal Nasir and President and CEO Muhammad Aurangzeb, the bank stated that all Covid-19 related medical expenses for employee, their spouse and dependent children will be completely covered by the bank, irrespective of the hospitalisation limit specific by the medical insurance company.

This includes pathological tests, specified injections and medication, and hospitalisation in Covid wards or facilities. The bank will also cover the costs of PCR and antibodies tests if required or recommended.

Furthermore, an “Emergency Covid Hospitalisation Loan” is being introduced. This covers the hospitalisation expenses for non-dependent close family members, which includes non-dependent children, mother, father, brother, sister, mother-in-law and father-in-law.  

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This loan amount is equivalent to the hospitalisation expense, or Rs500,000, whichever is lower, with a zero percent markup. It will be repaid in 24 equal monthly installments, and can be availed up till June 2021.

The bank stated that it is ‘aggressively testing’ those who may have been exposed to a Covid-19 positive individual, or may show Covid-19 symptoms.

Since April, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has tried to incentivise businesses to not lay off their workers, by introducing a temporary refinance scheme to ensure payment of wages and salaries. This is up to 100 per cent of wages for businesses with an average of three-month wage bill of up to Rs500 million.

However, neither the SBP or the government have provided any incentives, or even orders, to the private sector to also pay for Covid-19 expenses of their employees. 

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