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Cathay Pacific to offer voluntary unpaid leave to staff

Cathay Pacific will soon offer unpaid leave to its staff to curb the financial damage the company has been hit with in recent months, according to the South China Morning Post.

The flag carrier of Hong Kong is reportedly set to implement this voluntary measure as some employees are being encouraged to take up to a month of unpaid leave, with Cathay Dragon pilots among the first. In other words, no compulsory unpaid leave was being planned for any of its 27,000 employees.

Also, the Post cited a source familiar with the matter that a company-wide review assessing personnel needs was to conclude soon, while there would be no job cuts.

Such a move is expected to help with the financial damage caused by a boycott by Mainland Chinese customers, and of more than seven months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific said it would shrink its capacity by 1.4% in 2020, meaning cabin crew and pilots are set to fly less.

Staffing costs accounted for 18.5% of Cathay’s total HK$109.5 billion expenditure in 2018, an expense only next to fuel payments. Other than this latest move, it was reported that Cathay Pacific had deferred the delivery of new aircraft this year and had planned to speed up the retirement of older planes.

Other measures include the stopping of hiring non-essential staff, deferred non-critical spending, and scrapping its annual 13th month company-wide bonus.

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