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Air India Announces Plans to Send Employees on Leave-Without-Pay for up to 5 Years


Air India Announces Plans to Send Employees on Leave-Without-Pay for up to 5 Years
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National airline Air India has confirmed a leave without pay (LWP) scheme for its employees which can be opted for a period of six months or two years. It is said that this can also be extended to five years. 

An order issued by AI on Tuesday read - “Accordingly, departmental heads at headquarters and regional directors of the region are required to assess each individual on the above-mentioned factors and identify the cases where option of compulsory LWP can be exercised. Names (to be approved by) CMD.”

Though employees will be sent on LWP, they are not free to join any government undertaking during the LWP period. “No employee availing of the Scheme will be permitted to take up jobs in government other public sector undertakings…. Employees taking up employment after availing LWP under the Scheme or at a later date, in other airlines and allied services or in any organisation with which the Company has dealing, should seek prior permission from the company, before taking up employment in such an organisation. The services of an employee will be terminated in accordance with service regulations/standing orders/ applicable rules, if the employee concerned fails to make such prior declaration/ seek permission,” the order adds.

Those who seek to take LWP voluntarily will require prior permission to do so which will be monitored on a case-by-case basis and will be “subject to the requirements of the company”, it is said.  

“During the LWP period if an employee, takes up employment in lndia or abroad, will have to keep the Company informed in writing, regarding his/her employment…. The duration of LWP will not be reckoned to determine the duration of total service for benefits like long service memento, passage, medical, gratuity and provident fund… Employees can avail of medical/passage benefits as per company rules, during their period of leave without pay under the scheme,” the order says.

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Further, the Regional Directors and the Departmental Heads of the Headquarters have been asked to send a list of employees they deem are eligible for LWP by August 15 pending the necessary approval by the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD).

Air India spends around Rs 230 crore towards monthly wages for around 13,000 permanent employees. The Government-owned airline previously delayed payments of wages and salaries to its staff amidst the pandemic. This was happening as the Union Government was looking for private investors to save the airline, though all negotiations were delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Domestic airline GoAir has also sent most of its employees on LWP since April this year, though a majority of the domestic operations were grounded since late March. IndiGo has managed to stay afloat during these tough times thanks largely to its cash reserves. 

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