Hi eveyone, I am working as an HR with restaurant industry in Dubai.

As we all are facing the issue of COVID 19 pandemic nowdays and as like many other companies my company is also facing a business loss and the restaurant is doing only the food delivery business nowdays due to lockdown.

The company has also done the pay cut for all employees due to which now the delivery boys are denying to deliver the food as they want their full salary. The management has to accept their terms because the business is totally running nowdays on delivery which is not possible without delivery staff.

After this the other staff of different departments like kitchen, housekeeping, F&B service etc. are raising their voice for the same and are giving threats to stop working if they also don't get full salary.

I am completely clueless how to handle this situation and so is the Department Heads of respective teams.

Kindly help us by sharing your valuable suggestions and ideas to deal with this situation.

Waiting for your kind and positive response at the earliest.

From India, Delhi

As your hotel business now is purely depends upon delivery of food packets, due to Covid-19,
please bear it in mind that some of the services are continuing services also, like Kitchen service,
House keeping staff, tech staff (electrician/carpentor/plumber etc) hence, if you decide to
give full salary to your delivery boys, staff from these services are also eligible to receive full salary
and their demand is reasonable and justified.
If Management has taken a decision to effect pay cut, it should be uniformly applied. If you give full salary to only delivery staff, this shall be a discrimination ,which other staff may not tolerate.
Due to Covid-19 ,services of only staff who serves food on table , are only suspended.

From India, Aizawl
Dear Ankita,

I think that your Indian operations is also included in the query. If the situation described pertains to your operations abroad only, people like us are clueless for we are not aware of any instructions by the respective States pertaining to employees during the State-imposed lock down nor the provisions of Labor Laws in force there. In short, you may have to handle the situation based on the terms of the contract of employment or conventions if any followed in the past regarding your inability to provide employment to all.

So far as India is concerned, though the Governments have issued various executive instructions under the Epidemic Diseases Act,1897 and the Disaster Management Act,2005 which include the payment of wages/salary to the employees during the lock down period, the continued extension of the lock down creates various questions of law like the propriety of the State to issue such orders under the DMA,2005. That's why the Supreme Court of India, which initially turned down the plea of certain managements to grant stay, subsequently directed the State not to take any penal action against non-payment of wages for the present. Leaving those industries where Work-From-Home is feasible, all other industries even situated in areas where relaxation is granted by the State find it difficult to fully resume their activities as usual and revive themselves because of the restrictions combined with the relaxation. Hotel industry is truly one among them. Since the matter is Sub-Judice, let's avoid discussing the pros and cons of the orders of the State and try to address the situation referred to in the post from a practical angle.

In extreme situation like lock down in the wake of COVID-19, it is indisputable that the moral obligations of employers give way to their contractual obligations to their employees for they have no immediate source of fall-back.But when the lock down continues indefinitely, practically it is not possible for the employers to sustain all as usual. Even if the employer is only able to run his operations at no loss-no gain, he cannot do so by providing employment to all employees with the same degree of employment benefits. The only feasible alternative is retention of the minimum no of suitable employees required for the limited and essential operations and sending others temporarily out of employment with some compensation as per Law and with an assurance to take back them when normalcy returns.

Therefore, the HR and the respective functional heads have to initiate dialogue with the employees and try to convince them. There should be no discrimination as suggested by our friend Mr.Rkn61.

From India, Salem

Your predicament is understandable, as the delivery boys have got away with full salary and the HODs are clueless on how to convince their boys on the salary deductions.

It is not only that these days the F&B industry is critically dependent on the delivery boys but it needs no emphasis that in your industry they are the ones who are most exposed to the dangers posed by the Covid 19. They are out on the roads, streets, apartments, criss crossing their territory and directly in touch with all and sundry, literally playing with fire and amidst lurking fear. Such a situation is not being faced by the kitchen staff, or house keeping personnel. Now with considerably reduced footfall in the hotels, their risk factor is considerably reduced. So the working condition of delivery boys is incomparable with the in-house staff in hotel.

As HR executive, you will have to constatly communicate with the departmental heads on how the interests of the organisation can be served in this difficult time and the top management has to be the role models if there is a wage cut being effected.

From India, Mumbai

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