AI gives option of 3 working day week to permanent staffers at 60% pay; starts special quarantine leave

NEW DELHI: Air India (AI) will now give its permanent employees, except pilots and cabin crew, the option of a “shorter working week” where they will work three days a week at 60% pay. The scheme, applicable with immediate effect from Friday, is voluntary and can be opted for a year to begin with and extendable to two years subject to the airline’s approval.
AI has 13,000 permanent employees with a monthly wage bill of Rs 230 crore. The airline did not say what savings it expects from the move as the same will be known depending on how many employees opt for it.
In another decision on Friday, the airline introduced a “special quarantine leave on exposure to Covid-19” where an employee who has come in contact with an infected person — like crew of a flight on which a passenger tested positive — or has tested positive will be immediately sent on home quarantine for 14 days as per airline/government advice.
“Duration of home quarantine shall be 14 days from the date of contact with a confirmed case. He/she shall be granted quarantine leave with pay for 14 days, which shall not be debited from his/ her leave account,” an office order issued by AI GM (industrial relations) Meenakshi Kashyap says. This order is applicable only for the duration of the pandemic and for now be in force up to August 31, 2020.
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Employees opting for shorter working week have been asked not to take up any other employment during the period they avail of this option. “Since the employee opting for this scheme will be on the payrolls of the company, it is mandatory that (he/she) shall not take up any employment during the period, in addition to his/her job in the company. If this condition is violated, disciplinary action (will be taken as per rules)…. The management (can) cancel approval under the scheme and ask employees to join back immediately on full time basis as per the requirements of the company,” the order says.
Employees opting for this scheme will be required to work on any three days during the week. “The basic pay, dearness allowance other allowances, benefits and perquisites will be reduced to 60% of the gross emoluments/allowances/benefits/perquisites.… Privilege leave would be 1.5 day for every month of service, while casual leave and sick leave would be proportionately reduced to 6 each per year.”
“There will be no change in the benefits relating to medical and passage facilities. Contributions towards the pension scheme will be based on the full amount deductible as if no reduction in emoluments has taken place as a result of an employee voluntarily opting for a shorter working week scheme. The MD reserves his discretion to accept/reject any application forwarded under the scheme, without assigning any reason in the interest of the company,” it says.
For the purpose of special quarantine leave, coming in contact with a positive case will mean “a person living in the same household as Covid-1 9 case; a person having had direct physical contact with Covid-19 case or his/her infectious secretions without recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) or with a possible breach of PPE. A person who was in a closed environment or had face to face contact with a Covid-19 case at a distance of within 1 meter including air travel.”

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