By – Abhiraj Bhal (Co-Founder & CEO, Urban Company)
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged India into a crisis of unprecedented scale. Each one of us has seen personal loss up close — family members, friends and/or colleagues. At Urban Company, we have lost a dear colleague of ours, Mohit Agrawal, who had been our brother, friend and colleague for nearly 6 years. To honor his spirit, and countless others like him who have lost the fight to COVID-19, we have put in place a set of measures to help our community of 35,000 service partners.
Our measures across vaccinations, medical relief, financial support and safety are highlighted below –
1. Vaccination for all: We are committed to getting all our service partners fully vaccinated free of cost at the expense of the company. We have partnered with some of the leading hospital chains of India, local governments, and non-profit organizations to accelerate our vaccination efforts. We are targeting to get 100% of our service partners vaccinated with the first dose by 30 June, and the second dose by 31 Aug 2021. We have also committed to donating funds worth ~ 10,000 vaccine doses to non-profits such as ACT Grants who are helping vaccinate other vulnerable front-line workers.
Customers will soon be able to see what percentage of our service fleet is vaccinated, real time on our apps and website. Further, they will be able to also see the vaccination certificate of a service partner assigned to them on the app and website.
2. Mohit Agrawal COVID Relief Fund: We have set up the Mohit Agrawal COVID Relief Fund to help our partners with medical expenses, hospitalization expenses and bereavement support, over and above applicable health insurances which the company provides to many of our service partners. The company and its employees have contributed INR 1.5 Cr. to this fund. To donate: https://bit.ly/3nxPn7Y
3. Interest-free flexible loans: We have approved INR 10 Cr. worth interest free loans (Extendable to INR 20 Cr) for all our beauty partners in locked down regions. Partners can avail these loans, with delayed and liberal pay back periods only once business activity resumes. In case further lockdowns are announced in cities going forward, we are committed to increasing the loan corpus available to our service partners to tide through this time.
4. Safety and PPE Kits: On safety, we are ramping up PPE distribution, mandating the use of new masks, gloves and sanitizers with each service. Additionally, we are shipping face shields, coveralls, shoe covers to service partners. All our partners have to self-administer a daily temperature check.
We have also increased our efforts around extensive testing, safety and hygiene training as per WHO guidelines, audits and technology-led compliance.
5. Other initiatives: Beyond the above efforts, we are also helping our partners with doctor consultations, medical supplies and hospitalization support. We are also onboarding onto the platform, thousands of new service professionals who have lost their jobs in the pandemic, and are looking to earn a respectful livelihood and serve customers with pride.
We are proud of our service partners. As a company, we have always tried to do right by our service partners, customers and other stakeholders. These are trying times for us all! I am sure this time will pass soon. Hopefully our measures will help in a small way our partner community to get through this phase.