For the past few months, we have talked about all the reasons we need to be a smaller airline on October 1. And to that end, we issued 36,000 WARN notices to our employees earlier this month.
But you’ve also heard us talk about how furloughs are a last resort and that we would remain focused on working with our union partners to find creative solutions that could help reduce the overall number of involuntary actions and the resulting impact on you and your family. Already, we have 7,500 IAM-represented employees on a Company-Offered Leave of Absence (COLA) in July and more than 2,500 have volunteered to participate in our VSP2 program.
People who have taken the COLA and the VSP have been a big help to the company in the midst of this historic, disruptive crisis — and saved jobs. And over the next few weeks, we plan to extend some of our existing COLA programs as well as introduce new voluntary programs.
And today, I have some good news to share about one of those new voluntary options. In partnership with your IAM union leadership, the Voluntary Partial Pay Leave program will give our IAM-represented employees the option to select one year of voluntary leave of absence, starting on October 1, with pay continuation during those 12 months at 25% of the employee’s regular hourly rate, and benefits continuation. And participation in the program will be in seniority order based on workgroup, location and workforce planning needs.
We will share more details about this program, including how to enroll, continuation of benefits and vacation time, in the next two weeks. Importantly, IAM employees will be eligible for this new offering even if they are presently on some type of COLA – full or reduced-schedule.
Finally, I want to underscore that this program would not have been possible without the collaboration of your IAM leadership and their openness to creating new, voluntary opportunities for our United team. We have a shared focus on ensuring that United – and the jobs it supports – are here when customers are flying again, and we thank them for their continued partnership. We expect to continue these conversations with IAM leadership and together, explore more potential voluntary opportunities in the future.
Thank you for your continued dedication to serving our customers and supporting one another through this unprecedented set of circumstances.