Deepinder Goyal, chief executive of food tech major Zomato, has decided to donate all his employee stock options plan (ESOP) worth ₹700 crore to Zomato Future Foundation (ZFF), an internal communication sent to Zomato employees shows. The Zomato Future Foundation will cover the education expenses of up to two children up to ₹50,000 per child per annum of all Zomato delivery partners who are on its fleet for over 5 years. The amount will go up to ₹1 lakh per child per annum if the delivery partner completes 10 years with the company. The move is seen as a measure to provide security to its delivery partners and contain high attrition.

Goyal has clarified that 100% of this ESOP vesting cycle is committed to Zomato Future Foundation. However, it’ll be liquidated over the next few years. "To reap the most benefit for ZFF, and protect the interest of our shareholders, I do not intend to liquidate all these shares immediately but over the next few years. For the first year, I will liquidate less than 10% of these ESOPs towards the fund," says Goyal.

The service threshold of 5 or 10 years will be lower for women delivery partners. The company will also have special programmes for girl children and will introduce 'prize money’ if a girl completes Class 12 as well as her graduation, says the communication.

The foundation will also start higher education scholarships over and above these limits for children with higher performance and potential. It'll also provide “educational and livelihood support to families” of all its delivery partners -- irrespective of service tenure -- who meet with unfortunate circumstances such as accidents while on the job.

"This is just the start. As and when needed, we'll keep expanding and re-evaluating the scope of this foundation to benefit our ecosystem further," says the letter.

The foundation will also be open for donations from other Zomato employees. "We are also going to explore other fundraising opportunities for the ZFF. We'll also set up an independent governance board for the Zomato Future Foundation," it adds.

Goyal says he's "pumped" for what this foundation will do for its delivery partner's children. "I believe that education is one and the only thing that can give them a chance to build life much better than their previous generations,” he adds.

Apart from ZFF, Zomato also runs initiatives such as the Feeding Foundation to provide food security for daily wage workers; ‘Zomato Gold Support Fund' for restaurants and their workers; and 'Rider Relief Fund’ and ‘Covid Insurance' for its delivery partners. Its rivals like Swiggy and Zepto have launched initiatives to allow delivery partners to join the full-time workforce based on their qualifications and performance.

Like bigger tech services companies, food-tech majors like Swiggy, Zomato and others are fighting high attrition levels. These jobs demand long work hours, pose immense pressure on delivery partners and are less rewarding in terms of monetary gains. Though companies claim they provide their workers with the flexibility to work at their convenience, these employees often end up working long shifts without any extra incentives. The food-tech majors are now trying to change this by bringing in reforms and offering security to their delivery partners.

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