Few takers to MAS' offer of optional no-pay leave scheme

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Air-lines' (MAS) optional no-pay leave scheme is expected to receive lukewarm response from some 7,000 members of the Malaysian Airlines System Employees' Union (Maseu).

Maseu secretary-general Abdul Malek Ariff said there must be a compelling reason for an employee to take up the offer, particularly if they were the sole breadwinner in the family.

“With current uncertainties in the global economic outlook, there will be many who may not be willing to take the risk of being unemployed at the present time,” he said here yesterday.

He said the scheme would most likely be taken up by employees seeking to further their studies or to open their own businesses.

“I don't expect many to take up the offer as not many of them can afford to further their education without a steady income or start their own business,” he said.

He also described the offer by MAS as nothing new' with a similar scheme announced during former MAS managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala's tenure.

He noted under the initial scheme, only about 300 employees took up the offer with about the same number expected to sign up this time.

However, he said more employees would consider taking up the offer if the duration of the no-pay leave was not more than 12 months instead of two years.

“If it is a year, there would be some employees who may decide to take leave to spend time with their children while taking care of the home,” he said.

The scheme was announced re-cently by MAS internally with employees having till June 30 to sign up.

On Friday, MAS head of human capital Zahrah Zaid said that employees who take up the offer would be free to seek employment elsewhere except with rival companies while also continuing to enjoy air travel and medical benefits.

MAS, which has over 20,000 em-ployees, laid off some 2,600 workers under a Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) in 2005 and unveiled a voluntary flexi employment scheme in 2008 with some 2,400 employees taking up the offer.

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