Sprawling 5-star hotel to close shop till year-end

Hotels nationwide are among businesses most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: A 500-room 5-star hotel in the Klang Valley is preparing to halt operations until the end of the year, as hotels nationwide feel the brunt of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a leaked memo to employees of the sprawling hotel, they were told to take unpaid leave throughout the closure.

Permanent staff were also assured of their jobs if the hotel resumed operations.

“Staff are also allowed to work part-time or on contract basis with another company,” a source told FMT.

It is understood that employees will receive half month’s salary for April.

“We hope all staff voluntarily agree to submit the unpaid leave form. This is for the duration until December 2020 or June 2021 as you wish,” said the company’s owner, a prominent tycoon, in a separate letter.

In the letter sighted by FMT, he promised “big transformation” plans for those who chose to remain with the hotel.

The hotel’s management said it had no choice but to make the drastic decision due to the loss of income during the nationwide business shutdown under the movement control order (MCO), adding that it “has put all of us into a very difficult situation”.

But employees contacted by FMT are worried that they will not be eligible for compensation under the government’s Employment Insurance System (EIS).

“Those who opt for unpaid leave are not considered retrenched,” said a worker.

Workers earning above RM4,000 are also not covered by the employment retention programme (ERP), the government’s wage subsidy initiative to ensure participating employers retain their staff for six months.

One worker told FMT that the hotel had not been making EIS, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso) contributions since June 2019, despite deducting staff salaries.

A hotel spokesman declined comment, saying the management is in the midst of negotiations with relevant authorities.

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