The State Bank of India has asked more than 70,000 employees of its former associate banks to return the compensation they received for working overtime on days following demonetisation in 2016, India Today reported on Monday.

The public sector bank added these employees to its workforce after the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore merged with it in 2017.

After the government scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination currency notes on November 8, 2016, people across the country queued up at banks to get their currency notes exchanged. Bank staffers worked for 14 hours at a stretch during the rush that lasted more than three months. The leave applications of several bank employees were even cancelled so that the deadline for exchanging the old notes could be met.

In its communication issued to all zonal headquarters, the SBI said the compensation was meant only for those employees who worked at SBI’s branches during demonetisation. It argued that because the associate banks had not yet merged with it at that time, they, and not the SBI, were responsible for paying their employees compensation for any overtime.

“The claim related to the period prior to the merger of e-Abs [erstwhile Associate Banks] should have been dealt by e-Abs at the material time and we have no record of any commitment to pay the same,” the communication read, according to The Hindu Business Line.

The bank also demanded a review of circumstances under which the compensation for the former associate banks were approved. Appropriate action may be taken against erring officials, the SBI reportedly said.