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Cathay Pacific plans to introduce unpaid leave for its employees in a bid to relieve the financial stress caused by the recent social unrest and the boycott by mainland Chinese customers, according to the South China Morning Post.
The measure is reportedly to be voluntary, whereby employees are encouraged to take up to a month of unpaid leave. Cathay Dragon pilots are among the first target group. The spokeswoman of the airline stressed that no compulsory unpaid leave was being planned for any of its 27,000 employees.
“There are existing voluntary ‘lifestyle rosters’ in place for Cathay Dragon flight crew. Such rosters are open to application and allow crew to pursue interests of their choice while maintaining a balanced and rewarding lifestyle,” she said.
A company-wide review assessing personnel needs is apparently set to conclude soon, with no job cuts.
Staffing costs made up 18.5% of the airline’s total HK$109.5 billion expenditure in 2018, an expense second only to fuel payments. Hong Kong’s flagship airline has announced its plan to shrink capacity by 1.4% this year, the first contraction since 2013. Cathay cabin crew and pilots will be flying less, and other measures such as putting a halt to its annual 13th-month company-wide bonus, recruitment of non-essential staff, and non-critical spending, will be deployed.