Photo Credit: ARLINGTON, VA - JULY 22: A flight attendant exits a Delta Airlines flight at the Ronald Reagan National Airport on July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all employees and passengers are required to wear facemasks while onboard a Delta plane. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)
Delta Needs 3,000 Flight Attendants to Take Unpaid Leave to Avoid Layoffs
Delta Airlines just recently told employees that it expects to have in excess of at 3,000 flight attendants on its payroll until next summer. That’s why the company is asking cabin crew to consider voluntarily taking as much as a year’s unpaid leave in an effort to avoid involuntary furloughs.
“Based on the forward-looking network schedule we know today—recognizing there will be continued schedule volatility with COVID-19—we’ve confirmed we will be over-staffed from October into the summer of 2021,” Allison Ausband, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service, wrote in a note to employees obtained by CNBC. “In keeping with our culture, we are continuing to put our people first by introducing several new options that provide innovative opportunities to preserve jobs.”
Ausband continued that Delta needs “at least” 3,000, or around 15 percent, of its approximately 20,000 flight attendants to take an unpaid leave option of anywhere from four to 12 months’ duration to avoid layoffs.
Delta is also proposing alternative choices to unpaid leave, including dividing up flight attendant schedules, asking flight crews to work on alternating months, or even transferring to work in the catering department, which the airline said would provide comparable pay.
As Travel Noire previously reported, the airline joined two other major U.S. airline companies asking for employees to retire early to help with massive layoffs as a result of the disruptions COVID-19 has caused.
Roughly 17,000 employees, or around 20 percent of Delta’s workforce, have already voluntarily taken the early retirement packages or buyout options offered by the company in a bid to limit pandemic-prompted financial losses, as reported in Travel Pulse.