You can check in but you can never leave... That was Hotel California but the situation is somewhat similar at Satyam right now.
Firstly, there are few openings elsewhere. Secondly, as far as freshers go, the company has taken a Rs 2 lakh bond from each trainee. Apparently it works like this: you keep a fixed deposit of Rs 2 lakhs with State Bank. If you leave before completing two years you forfeit that FD to Satyam.
Asking employees for a bond is an IT industry practice. However Satyam is the only one which asks for so much money upfront and for a period of 2 years. TCS and Wipro too have a bond but for Rs 50,000 and Rs 75,000 respectively.
Says one recent engineering graduate working with a consulting firm: "Other IT majors have SLAs .. so if they train you in some niche skill they have SLA for large amount".
He explains, an SLA is a Service Level Agreement. Although it would be more appropriate to refer to it as a bond. A legal document on 'court paper' signed by your company and you. "So when settlements happen while leaving.. they get this amount if you leave job early."
How exactly can one 'enforce' this? Well, the company can refuse to give you the experience letter or NOC required to join the next place unless you pay up.
This guy, let's call him Engineer X, had an SLA of Rs 1 lakh for 1 year. Now that period is over and he can move on freely (if he wishes to). Until he gets trained in some other skill and is under SLA again for some time.
I don't know if SLA bonds work efficiently but certainly keeping cold hard cash does! The fact that I have to literally PAY 2 lakhs (or at least lock it in for 2 years) raises several issues in my mind:
* I need money to get a job. They promise to give it back to me but it still sounds very un-capitalist.
* Would every fresh engineer have this money to spare. If not, does the bank provide a loan for this purpose?
A job at Satyam for a fresher would pay between Rs 2.4 lakhs-3.5 p.a. Engineer X adds,"Satyam many a times offered jobs to top 10 students in many colleges..!!" Obviously not the IITs or other big brand name colleges but still.
So where is this money? If we estimate around 10,000 freshers joined the company in the last two years (and that is a conservative estimate) the amount collected as bond would be Rs 200 crores.
Given that Satyam managed to manipulate its bank FDs in all kinds of interesting ways one has to wonder whether this money is safe! Hopefully the new auditors will get to the bottom of this one.
As for the bond itself - kya yeh Fevicol ka hai jo kabhi tootata nahin? Under the changed circumstances it should be revoked. When things fall apart, why should freshers hold?