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Source: The News Minute

26 April.The Indian media industry continues to bleed, with pay cuts being reported in more and more organisations. Pay cuts were announced by large organisations including NDTV, Times of India group and more.

The Hindu announced pay cuts on Saturday for those earning above Rs 6 lakh per year. Those earning between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 10 lakh per annum would see a pay cut of 8%; those earning between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh would see a cut of 12%; Rs 15 lakh to Rs 25 lakh is 16%; Rs 25 lakh to Rs 35 lakh is 20%; and those earning above Rs 35 lakh would see a cut of 25%.

In a letter sent to employees, Hindu Group CEO LV Navaneeth said that wholetime directors on the Board and independent directors have voluntarily taken cuts as well.

NDTV announced that apart from those earning less than Rs 50,000 per month, salaries will be cut across the board, with progressively higher cuts depending on salary. In an email to employees, NDTV said that those earning the most will take the biggest cuts, and each employee was separately sent an email about their pay cut.

Pay cuts will remain in force till July 1, pending review by the management at the time. “This team will work its hardest to improve the financial position of the company but because revenue will depend entirely on when – and to what extent – the economy as a whole revives, there is no way to forecast what might be needed in three months,” the email read.

In a filing with the stock exchanges on Thursday, NDTV said, “The management of the NDTV Group has been forced to implement a salary cut, effective April 1, of between 10-40 per cent based on income slabs for a period of three months (subject to detailed review at the end of the period ) across its employee base (where employees earn more than ₹50,000 per month).

Last week, Hindustan Times cut the take home pay of employees. According to Newslaundry, an email sent to the staff by HT Media CEO Praveen Someshwar said that the national newspaper was losing Rs 3.5 crore a day as it was incurring costs without the revenues. Instead of cutting pay, the company made a part of part of employee pay variable. It is important to note, however, that employees rarely get their full variable pay. Variable pay can be linked to the employee’s performance, as well as the financial performance of the company.

From April 1, HT said that 5% of the salary earned by those whose CTC (Cost to Company) is Rs 6-10 lakh would be variable. For those earning between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh, 10% will be variable, and for people earning above Rs 20 lakh, 15% will be variable. This will not affect those earning below Rs 6 lakh.

According to NL, the appraisal cycle has also been deferred. However, the company offered insurance that would cover their families as well.

The Times of India group also instituted pay cuts for its main newspaper. For TOI, the group said that the variable pay/incentive to be given at the end of Q1 of FY 21, which ends in June, would be deferred, and will be reviewed later. Increments have also been deferred and will be reviewed at the end of Q2 depending on business performance. 5% of total remuneration would be cut for those earning above Rs 10 lakh per annum; and 10% would be cut for those earning more than Rs 1 crore per annum from April 1.

For those with salaries above Rs 6.5 lakh, 10% of their pay has been moved to a ‘special performance incentive pool’. The payment of this will depend on a target the company has to achieve a profit before before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for 2020-21.

Salary cuts are reportedly on the anvil for other Times Group properties like Times Now and Economic Times.

Malayalam channel JaiHind TV, a Congress mouthpiece, also announced steep pay cuts. Those earning upto Rs 10,000 gross salary would see pay cuts of 30%; 35% for those earning between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000; and 40% for those earning between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000. Those earning above Rs 30,000 would see a 50% pay cut.

“Professional Fees, Anchor Remuneration, Retainership fees will also lessen according to the above slab. Reimbursement of local conveyance except for the marketing team has been withdrawn. Metro Allowance of Rs 8000 and Rs 5000 will be reduced to Rs. 5000 and Rs. 3000 respectively,” Managing Editor MM Hassan said in an office order. The company’s joint managing director has offered to take a 100% cut in his honorarium.

Pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs were also reported at The Quint, Indian Express and Business Standard. Here is a report published on 14 April2020

14 April. The Indian media suffered a bloodbath on Monday, with multiple organisations sacking staffers, shutting divisions, extending leave without pay or cutting pay of employees.

Bennett Coleman’s The Times of India laid off its entire Sunday Magazine team — including nine employees from the Times of India, six of Times Life and three from Speaking Tree.

NewsNation also laid off all 15 members of the English digital team, and according to Newslaundry, were not given notice of termination or allowed to serve their notice period. Employees were also only receiving a month’s basic salary as severance.

This comes after the Indian Express and Business Standard cut salaries for employees. IE said that the pay cuts were temporary.

IE’s leadership took a 100% pay cut, and instituted different levels of pay cuts for employees on different pay scales. Those earning below Rs 5 lakh would not see any change, between Rs 5 and Rs 7.5 lakh would see a 10% cut, between Rs 7.5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh would see a 15% pay cut, Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh would see 20% cut, Rs 20 lakh to Rs 35 lakh would see a 25% pay cut, and those earning above would see a 30% pay cut.

“Nothing will make me happier than to propose to you to withdraw this salary cut, the moment we turn the corner but what worries me is that if the situation continues this proposed reduction in salary will also not be enough for us to see through this crisis,” CEO George Varghese said in an email, but also stated that employees will have to make more sacrifices if things don’t improve.

For Business Standard, pay cuts start for those earning above Rs 10 lakh from May onwards. 

In other cost cutting measures, Outlook Magazine also ceased production of its print edition temporarily.

Digital news outlet The Quint closed down its auto and technology sections, and around 45 staffers including reporters, a bureau chief and production staff were sent on leave without pay from April 15.

In an email to employees, Quint said that under the current circumstances, their revenues will be under severe strain for at least three to four months. 

In the email, the Quint said that there was a “double whammy” of the health crisis along with an economic one. “We’ve never seen a world where consumer spending is down by over 50%, where wealth and asset values built over the years, have been ravaged in a matter of days. We simply have no idea where this could end,” the email read.

After multiple employees raised grievances, Quint sent a follow-up email where it said that those making below Rs 65,000, who have been put on leave without pay, will receive their salaries till April 30.

Insurance of all employees will still hold, and if they require, can get a month’s salary in advance on request. They can also withdraw money from their employee provident fund accounts.

BloombergQuint also informed employees that steep pay cuts can be expected for the month of April, and it would return to normal for the month of May.

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