PETALING JAYA: To cut costs, Malaysia Airlines has offered its workforce up to two years of no-pay leave during which time they can seek employment elsewhere but not at rival companies.
Those interested have up to June 30 to apply for the voluntary leave programme announced internally on Friday via an e-mail and this option is only meant for Malaysian staff in permanent employment with the company.
“The employees are allowed to work elsewhere (subject to company approval) and still enjoy air travel benefits, (but) not at rival companies,” MAS head of human capital Zahrah Zaid said in reply to queries from The Star.
This is not the first time MAS has offered a voluntary leave programme but Zahrah could not say how many will opt for it this time round.
“The company has not targeted any specific number,” she said.
MAS has been in the red for several quarters now and it is in restructuring mode, with its workforce of 20,600 people said to be too large for its operations. The airline had in recent months shrunk its capacity by 12% but was unable to reduce its workforce due to various reasons.
However, the MAS Business Plan announced on Dec 7 last year stressed the need for a lean workforce, especially after the suspension of several passenger and cargo routes.
“Job cuts or offer of no pay leave in times of crisis is common in the aviation industry. Last week Lufthansa said it planned to slash 3,500 administrative jobs around the world, while Australia's Qantas on Monday said that it was looking at cutting 500 engineering jobs. In March, Singapore Airlines offered no-pay leave to its pilots for as long as two years.
In her e-mail on Friday, Zahrah said the voluntary leave programme allows employees to apply for further leave after the maximum two years at the discretion of the airline.
Those who accept the offer will still enjoy their sub-load or standby privilege travel on MAS, MASwings and other airlines as well as outpatient medical benefits from MAS panel clinics or government hospitals.
At the end of the leave period, “staff are welcome to return working for MAS and in this way MAS will be able to leverage on the experience of the dedicated workforce to chart its future growth,” Zahrah said.
“MAS will endeavour to assign the staff to his/her previous position subject to availability of the position or the person may be assigned to another position of the same grade/level within MAS group at the discretion of the management.” - theStaronline