In a bid to cut down on company finances amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Island Aviation Services (IAS) said on Monday that its employees had the option to go on no-pay leave if they wished to do so.
Speaking at a press conference held at Dharubaaruge, national airline Maldivian's Public Relations Manager, Moosa Waseem said that they offered the option as a measure to reduce company costs, noting that employees were not subjected to termination or pay cuts.
However, IAS have yet to disclose how many employees applied for no-pay leave.
The company have also decided to reduce the salaries of board members and senior management staff by 20 percent. Moreover, the company speculates that operational costs will be reduced due to many employees working from home.
"The electricity bill and water bill will be cheaper as employees do not come to the office anymore. Some employees are coming in to work only three days a week", Moosa said.
Airline companies all over the world are greatly affected due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. IAS has also suspended flights to most of their destinations although details of the financial loss has not been publicised thus far.
In a bid to counteract the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy, Maldives government introduced a financial stimulus package with MVR 2.5 billion intended to prevent the closing down of local businesses and the loss of jobs. As part of government's economic recovery plan to minimize the negative financial impact, Bank of Maldives (BML) will push back its loan repayment period by six months, along with a 20 percent discount on repayment amount, while Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) and SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) will extend loan repayments by six months. In addition, Maldives central bank will distribute USD 150 million to banks to mitigate the challenges in acquiring US dollars.
Earlier, the government vowed to reduce state spending by MVR 1 billion. In this regard, the government had slashed the salaries of all political appointees and heads of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by 20 percent. The Parliament followed suit, approving a 20 percent cut on their members’ salaries as well.