ICICI Bank launches novel women centric initiatives on International Women’s Day

ICICI Bank launches iWork@home, a first-of-its-kind programme, which allows women employees to work from home for one year, and is extendable. This unique programme replicates the work environment at home by providing employees access to their work applications in a safe and secure manner. The other initiative aids women managers who travel on business, by covering the travel and stay of young children and their caregivers.

ICICI Bank announced the launch of two key initiatives to help its women employees overcome challenges that many of them face at certain life stages. The first initiative, iWork@home, will enable employees to work from home for a long period of time, up to a year, initially. This period is further extendable. Employees will be provided access to their required operating systems in a safe and secure manner, thereby creating a seamless office-like environment. The technology platform for this unique programme has been developed in-house by ICICI Bank in partnership with students from IIT, Delhi.

The innovative features of this programme enable the bank to roll it out across several functions and at the same time ensure that there is no loss of productivity. This has the potential to make ‘iWork@Home’ a highly scalable programme and also allow women managers to avail this facility for long periods of time, both of which make it totally unique.

Announcing the launch of these initiatives, Ms. Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank said: ‘Although women form 48% of the population in our country, their representation in the workforce is much lower than men. Many women who join the workforce are sometimes forced to take a break or even leave their jobs, due to various life stage needs like maternity and child care. Lack of support system due to predominance of nuclear families, inadequate infrastructural facilities like crèches and long commute time further accentuates the problem. To ensure that the working women do not leave the workforce, there is a strong need for a robust support system, both at home and at work.

iWork@home is a unique programme, whereby women can contribute to the best of their abilities even while working from home. Women employees can avail of this programme for an extended period of time, depending on their needs. I am confident that the two new initiatives announced today, will go a long way to provide them with an adequate support system which will enable them to pursue their careers successfully while attending to the needs of their families.’

The main features of iWork@home initiative are:
·         It allows women employees in many core functions to work from home.
·         A three-level security protocol ensures that only the concerned employee is able to access the system. The bank has designed a unique facial recognition technology to ensure that no one can impersonate the employee and get access to its applications.
·         Employees can avail of this benefit for up to one year and thereafter apply for extension, if needed.

Under this programme, which has been launched internally a few weeks back, employees are carrying out multiple tasks, some of which are:
o   Checking documents for disbursement of loans
o   Image based verification of cheques for clearance
o   First level scrutiny of documents for opening of accounts, as part of the overall account opening process
o   Processing of export-import documents for payments

The second initiative is meant for women managers with children upto 3 years of age. Managerial responsibilities at times require them to travel outside city limits, for client interactions, business reviews or training. In order to support these employees, the bank has defined a policy to provide them with the cost of travel and stay of the child and a caregiver (family member or child caretaker). This will help our young managers to focus on their work without the emotional stress of staying away from their children.

These two new measures are aimed at creating an enabling environment which will help many women to pursue their careers successfully while attending to the needs of their families.

ICICI Bank has also introduced a slew of new benefits for its women customers under the ‘Advantage Woman Savings Account’. These include unlimited free ATM usage at all banks, cash back subject to a maximum of Rs 750 per month on usage of Debit Card at departmental stores, or for the purpose of dining, entertainment and utilities. It also provides a 30% discount on first year locker rentals. In addition, this account comes with a host of exclusive offers on premium brands like Shoppers Stop, Jabong, Lino Perros and Warren Tricomi Salon and Spa.

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