Air India says some employees died of COVID-19, their kin to be compensated

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Published: July 21, 2020 3:46 PM

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus has infected 55 Air India pilots, said two leading pilot unions of the airline last week in a letter to carrier’s CMD Rajiv Bansal.

Some employees of Air India have succumbed to COVID-19 , an official circular of the airline has said, as it announced a fixed compensation amount for the next of kin.  However, Air India spokesperson did not respond to PTI queries on how many employees have been infected and have died due to coronavirus.

The internal circular dated July 20 noted that “many employees of the company are getting COVID positive and some of the employees have also succumbed to the pandemic.” “To safeguard the interests of the families, it has been decided to make an ad-hoc payment to the family or legal heir of employees, who die during the period of COVID-19,” the circular, a copy of which has been accessed by PTI, stated.

Families or legal heirs of permanent employees who die of COVID-19 will get Rs 10 lakh, the amount is Rs 5 lakh for fixed term contract employees and Rs 90,000 for casual employees who worked continuously for one year, the circular said.

If the deceased worker was employed through a contractor or service provider, his or her family or legal heir will be paid an amount equivalent to the gross salary of two months, it said. It stated that the ad-hoc payment circular will be applicable only for the period of the COVID-19 pandemic and shall be initially in force from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, subject to review thereafter.

Coronavirus has infected 55 Air India pilots, said two leading pilot unions of the airline last week in a letter to carrier’s CMD Rajiv Bansal. Air India has a debt of around Rs 70,000 crore and the government started the process to sell it to a private entity in January. The national carrier’s net loss in 2018-19 was around Rs 8,500 crore.

The airline issued an internal order on July 14 asking its departmental heads and regional directors to identify employees, based on various factors like efficiency, health and redundancy, who will be sent on compulsory leave without pay (LWP) for up to five years. Moreover, it said employees can also volunteer for the LWP scheme.

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the coronavirus pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, LWP and laying off employees in order to conserve cash flow.

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