By Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson
<p class = "Canvas-Atom Canvas-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "(Reuters) – Southwest Airlines Co. On Monday, buy-out packages and limited paid vacation days for employees extended, which the Chief Executive said was an attempt to “survive” as the carrier prepares for a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This is evident from documents detailing the packages seen by Reuters. “data-reactid =” 33 “> (Reuters) – Southwest Airlines Co. On Monday, buy-out packages and limited paid vacation days for employees extended, which the Chief Executive said was an attempt to “survive” as the carrier prepares for a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This is evident from documents detailing the packages seen by Reuters.
Southwest, which has had no layoffs or vacation days in its 49-year history, said its flight capacity would likely decrease by about 30% in the fall.
“While overstaffing is not 100% tied to capacity levels, we can assume that we are overstaffed by a similar percentage in many areas,” said Southwest in the documents.
Southwest offers holidays of at least six months with social benefits and 50% wages for most employees, except pilots who would receive about 61% wages. The maximum vacation time varies, and the airline said it could “bring employees back to work earlier if necessary for operational needs.”
Depending on the time in the company, employees are offered buyouts. Employees with more than 10 years of experience would receive an annual salary, health benefits, and four years of flight privileges. Pilots would receive about two thirds of their average salary for five years or until they reached the age of 65.
“These programs are important components for voluntarily reducing our workforce so that we can maintain the long-term viability of our company,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chief executive, in a document.
Southwest is one of the US airlines to receive billions in government wage support that prohibits any forced job cuts before October.
Jon Weaks, head of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), said the packages had been well received by the pilots, noting that the temporary vacations gave the company flexibility to call employees back to work as demand increased.
Weaks said he believed that most of the downsizing in the Southwest could be achieved through voluntary measures.
Southwest described the packages as the most generous in its history and “as appealing as it could be”.
Application deadline is July 15th.
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson; editing by Leslie Adler)