Online grocer Grofers has furloughed 50-70 employees from its offline sales and beauty business divisions for three months, citing losses due to curbs on account of the coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the development said.

Employees in the offline sales department were responsible for converting kirana and supermarket outlets into Grofers partner discount stores.

Albinder Dhindsa, cofounder of Grofers, said the company’s beauty business, known as Orange Something, had “stopped” operations and about 35 employees from that segment were moved to other functions in the company.

“The rest of the people are being adjusted, but in the meantime, have been told to remain on payroll (at a reduced salary) till we find them jobs within the company,” he said in a WhatsApp message. He said the furloughed staff will receive 33% salary till then.

“They don’t have to work but still get health insurance,” he added.

A Grofers spokesperson said in a statement 70 team members of its ancillary business dealing with non-essential categories were affected.

“We continue to actively work to place these affected employees in the main Grofers business. We have already absorbed 38 impacted employees in our core essentials business,” the spokesperson said.

The remaining 32 have been asked not to work, but they will get full health insurance and 33% salary until the company finds them roles suited to their skill set over the next month or two.

The placing of the workers on furlough comes even as Grofers claims to have hired hundreds of employees amid a surge in orders of essential goods during the ongoing lockdown that India is observing to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

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