THAI extends leave without pay


Thai Airways International planes at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Thai Airways International planes at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thai Airways International (THAI) is extending its leave-without-pay (LWOP) scheme for another 12 months, as the ailing flag carrier continues to struggle to meet its financial obligations.

A source said THAI acting CEO and chief of human resources Suvadhana Sibunruang has issued an internal memo announcing the latest extension of the LWOP scheme on Tuesday.

The scheme, which will be in effect for 12 months, begins on ๋July 1. According to the source, the scheme complies with the resolutions reached by the airline’s rehabilitation plan administrators on June 9.

The carrier had introduced a similar scheme earlier in the year to cope with its heavy losses. THAI reasoned the scheme was needed to cut back on human resource expenses and allow some employees with health problems to undergo treatments.

The scheme also presents an opportunity for other employees to further their studies or accompany their spouses on overseas working assignments, THAI had said.

The airline is currently seeking to restructure 245 billion baht of debt. 

The source said that it was apparent that the airline needed deeper cost reductions to survive.

Those eligible to join the scheme must have signed a new employment contract on May 1 and is a permanent employee. The scheme is reserved for employees based in Thailand.

Once the leave is granted, it cannot be retracted unless the company calls the employees back to work before the leave expires. 

However, the LWOP period is counted as work days. Participating employees will temporarily not be required to contribute to the provident fund. Although they do not receive salaries and other pay during LWOP, they are still entitled to the company’s full welfare and benefits.

The airline will pay the pre-tax amount of social security contribution worth 1,650 baht a month for each employee taking LWOP exceeding three months in a row. 

Throughout the period, participating employees may not operate or engage in commercial business or organisation which damages the airline’s interest. They also may not assume positions in any state agency or public office unless a prior permission is obtained from the company.



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