About 600 permanent employees of Air India, are to be offered a ‘leave without pay (LWP)’ scheme for a period of six months to two years, which may also extend to five years. This is part of the national carrier’s cost-cutting endeavours amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that has crippled the aviation sector.
As per the official notice issued to the staff, the employees now have the option to take leave without pay and allowance, for six months to five years, at the management’s discretion. The period of leave will depend on the concerned employee’s health, suitability, efficiency, competence, performance quality and redundancy, among other factors. The furloughed employees will not receive their basic pay, dearness allowance or any other benefits, such as increments, pension, gratuity, or provident fund. Their seniority will also be lost to the juniors.
Those residing in staff quarters will either have to vacate the space or pay rent to Air India for use of the same, as per the prevailing market price.
The Company’s regional heads and departmental leaders are required to draw up a list of employees for mandatory LWP by mid-August.
With a 11,000-strong workfoce, including staff working for its subsidiary companies, Air India is reportedly carrying a debt of almost Rs 70,000 crore. It incurred losses to the tune of over Rs 8,000 crore in the last financial year, which was about Rs 3,000 crore higher than the losses incurred in the 2018.