Air India can send employees on unpaid leave for up to 5 years

After a redundancy and productivity assessment, Air India managing director will be able to send employees on compulsory leave without pay for a period between six months and two years, and extend said period for up to five years. 

Such a scheme is laid out in an internal order and approved by a board of directors, India Today TV reports. Department and regional heads will have to identify employees to be sent on such a leave based on their efficiency, competence, performance, health, redundancy and other factors. 

While on paper the leave is voluntary, in case it does not get a good response from workers, the order authorizes chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal to send employees on a leave forcibly. 

“During the period of leave without pay, employees will not be paid any basic, dearness allowance or other benefits like pension, gratuity, provident fund, increment. They shall also lose their seniority with reference to juniors,” the order states. Employees will have to vacate staff quarters or rent them back from the airline as well.

The scheme comes after reports that the airline failed to pay salaries for months, with COVID-19 pandemic being just a cherry on top of its mounting problems. Air India, India’s national carrier established in 1932, has not registered profits in five years, while the government has agreed to cover only part of its mounting debt in preparation for eventual privatization.

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