Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90
The empty departures hall at Ben Gurion Airport, March 10, 2020.

El Al is expected to send between 4,500 and 5,000 of its 6,400 employees on unpaid leave until the end of the school year at the end of June, 2020, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

According to a directive the company issued in response to the coronavirus crisis, employees who are forced to go on unpaid leave may receive unemployment benefits immediately, and won’t have to first use up their vacation days.

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Employees, including pilots, will be entitled to as much as 70% of their salary, not exceeding 10,000 Shekel ($2,800) per month.

The total number of laid off employees will depend on the number of flights the company will be operating, which currently stands at about four daily flights, based on demand.

So far, El Al anticipates to lose more than $160 million in the first quarter of 2020. El Al is waiting for next week’s decision of the Treasury on the scope of financial support for the company, which has been hit by the worst crisis in its history. The Treasury for its part is awaiting a detailed streamlining plan from El Al, which must include firing more than 1,000 employees, along with cuts across all departments.

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