The severity of the COVID-19 crisis in India has had a profound effect on millions of people, and it has led to an outpouring of global aid and support.
With more than 15,000 colleagues in the region, here is how American Express is supporting their colleagues, their families, and communities as they grapple with this challenge.
Their actions to provide direct COVID-related support and resources for their colleagues including:
Running vaccination camps for colleagues and their dependents in Gurugram, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune. Around 4,256 of the company's colleagues, contractors and their dependents took advantage of these events. The company is continuing to work with leading hospitals to expand the coverage of vaccination camps to other cities as well.
Securing and deploying a number of oxygen concentrators that are being provided, free-of-charge to colleagues and their dependents who have been prescribed the equipment to deal with health issues associated with COVID-19.
Providing at-home testing and collection of COVID-19 RT-PCR tests for all colleagues and their families.
Establishing a 24*7 COVID-19 hotline dedicated to Amex colleagues and their dependents to help them find doctors, hospitals, isolation facilities, ambulances, and other medical assistance.
American Express has also made a number of significant improvements to their health and benefits plans to assist their colleagues. All these benefits can be availed by families in India of American Express colleagues with Indian origin residing anywhere in the world.
The company has increased financial assistance by allowing them to claim loans from their retirement accounts and extending a 45-day salary advance to most full-time colleagues to help them through this period.
American Express improved its insurance plans to cover all COVID-19 testing costs, home quarantine, ICMR recognized hotel isolation cost, hospital care cost, ambulance charges and mental health support. The company has also expanded medical coverage to include parents and partners of LGBTQ+ colleagues.
To support the bereaved families of American Express India colleagues, the company has increased their ex gratia benefit to two-years' base salary or Rs15 lakhs, whichever is greater. This benefit is also being extended retroactively from January 2020 when the pandemic began, regardless of the cause of death.
Beyond the company's continued support of colleagues in the region, American Express is also supporting local relief efforts to help boost the health infrastructure of India. The company has assisted in funding portable hospitals, patient home management and quarantine facilities for COVID patients, and oxygen plants in the most affected areas.
Manoj Adlakha, SVP and CEO, American Express Banking Corp. India, said, "The situation in India is improving, but we are by no means in the clear. Our company is continuously evaluating new ideas and resources to help us look after ourselves and each other. We will continue to seek the feedback of our colleagues, partners and communities to ensure we are helping as best we can."
So far, American Express has pledged US$2.9 million to support various organizations such as Dastkar, the American India Foundation, the NASSCOM Foundation, Goonj, Save the Children, and the Society of Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA) to help with COVID relief efforts in the underserved communities. This includes a donation of US$350K to USISPF for disbursing 1000 Oxygen concentrators and setting up a 100-bed portable hospital in partnership with the Government of India to address critical healthcare infrastructure needs in the most affected areas.
The company has also made it possible for their colleagues outside of India to contribute to these efforts through a global giving campaign dedicated to COVID relief in India. American Express will double the impact of this initiative by matching eligible donations.
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