OYO announces furlough in select global markets; India safe

Ritesh Agarwal. (Photo: Twitter/@riteshagar)

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) As the travel and hospitality industry goes through a near-standstill scenario amid the coronavirus crisis, hospitality major OYO on Wednesday announced furloughs or temporary leaves of 60-90 days for its employees in the US and select other markets, while keeping its staff in India untouched from the move.

In a video message and a letter to the employees and all other stakeholders, OYO Founder and Group CEO, Ritesh Agarwal said that the company will be placing a certain number of its employees, ‘OYOpreneurs’, on furloughs.

He also confirmed that keeping its promise to the government of India, OYO is committed to zero actions that impact employment status and salaries of ten thousand plus ‘OYOpreneurs’ on payrolls and tens of thousands of OYO managed assets staff, during this unprecedented period of a 21-day countrywide lockdown.

“As you all know, this situation of COVID-19 comes at a very unique time for OYO. This is right after we had a sizeable restructuring of our company in January of this year. Due to that, I want to clarify for all of you that we intend to do no or negligible layoffs as a part of cost restructuring across the world,” Agarwal said.

He added that it is important that the OYO’s leadership team ensures that the right decisions are made for the long-term success along with decisions on what is right for the long-term cash runway for the company.

“Given that, a significant number of ‘OYOpreneurs’, across the world are being placed on temporary leaves or furloughs of a minimum of 60 to 90 days and the details of these will be made available from HR teams of your respective countries,” he said.

OYO, however, would continue all the benefits of healthcare and medicare for the impacted ‘OYOpreneurs’ on leaves or furloughs, he added.

He also informed that 10 of the company’s employees, ‘OYOpreneurs’, have been tested positive with the Coronavirus, and a few of them have already recovered, in China, Brazil in Latin America, and others.

Noting the severe economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, he said that there is no other sector as badly impacted as the travel, tourism and hospitality.

He noted that the revenues of OYO and the occupancies have dropped by over 50-60 per cent. The CEO, however, said that the global leading hotel chains have all dropped their revenues by over 75 per cent and continue to get worse.

A company statement said that as global occupancies continue to reduce in the hospitality industry, the temporary leaves in select other markets will give the company the opportunity to do what is right for the business while ensuring that employees are safeguarded against a potential job-cut.

“Basis careful consideration of all possible options, this decision of instituting furlough or temporary leaves for a certain number of ‘OYOpreneurs’ is the best way to ensure jobs are safe while keeping costs in check. This option will enable OYO to continue supporting healthcare coverage and other associated benefits, which is important during such tough times,” it said.

The company said that it is also hopeful that as the situation begins to improve globally, they will be able to bring as many of its employees as possible, back to full-time work at OYO.

Highlighting some recent positive instances, Agarwal told his employees that there has been small recovery in some markets like China, Denmark and Japan.

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