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24 July


Korean Air "encourages" employees to take unpaid vacations

Experts believe that this is due to a sharp drop in company profits

Photo: Korean Air

/NOVOSTIVL/ Korean Air is offering up to six months of unpaid leave for its employees. This article appeared in The Korea Times.

The plan comes as the air travel industry is struggling with rising losses, although the country's flagship carrier claims it is unrelated to the company's financial situation but is aimed at increasing employee satisfaction

According to Korean Air, employees who have worked there for over two years are eligible to apply for leave of three months. The company will receive applications through Oct. 25, and the leave will be available from November to May - it can also be extended for up to another three months. Pilots and workers at overseas offices are excluded from the plan as their absence would affect daily operations.

The company said the plan was designed to improve work-life balance, helping workers spend more time taking care of their families, refreshing themselves and working on self-development.

"We have had unpaid leave before but employees have usually not used it because the periods were too long at one to three years,- Korean Air said in a statement. - There has been high demand for short-term leave of about three months, though."

Korean Air employs over 20,000 people.

The measure comes as local airlines have been posting losses amid unfavorable exchange rates and rising oil prices as well as geopolitical issues, mostly the "Boycott Japan" movement, which has drastically reduced the number of Koreans visiting the island country.

Korean Air suffered a net loss of 415 billion won ($350 million) between January and June due to a weak won and lower demand for cargo delivery. Many experts say Korean Air is expected to report more poor earnings for the third and fourth quarters due to the boycott.

But the company insisted that the unpaid leave was aimed at improving the work-life balance of its employees.