Malaysia Airlines offers unpaid leave amid COVID-19

The national carrier is the latest to offer the voluntary scheme to all employees

Malaysia Airlines offers unpaid leave amid COVID-19

Malaysia Airlines is offering no-pay leave to all employees, including subsidiaries such as low-cost carrier Firefly.

The scheme is available to all 13,000 employees. Employees can opt for one to three months of unpaid leave or five days of leave per month beginning in April.

The national carrier is the latest to adopt the cost-cutting measure in an industry hard-hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A Malaysia Airlines spokesperson said the move was motivated by the airline’s reduced operations due to a steep decline in travel. The airline has cancelled more than 2,000 flights up to April due to travel restrictions imposed by countries, reported the New Straits Times.

Earlier this week, the airlines group announced a 10% pay cut for senior management. In a message to employees, group chief executive Captain Izham Ismail said the measure would help them cope with the current business climate.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has hampered our growth momentum,” Ismail said. “We need to get ourselves united to combat this crisis. It has been nine weeks, the cashflow is not only affecting MAG but also the industry in totality.”

Other airlines in the region have also implemented similar cost-cutting measures.

From March 1, Singapore Airlines’s (SIA) senior leaders were given a pay cut between 10% to 15%. They’ve also offered a voluntary no-pay leave scheme to all staff, and froze hiring for ‘ground positions’.

Cathay Pacific’s offer for unpaid leave received overwhelming response: over 25,000 employees at opted to take voluntary unpaid leave to help the airline cope with the ongoing financial challenges.

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