Coronavirus: Grab encourages staff to take voluntary no-pay leave

It cuts senior management pay by up to 20%, and will create more job opportunities for drivers

Ride-hailing firm Grab is facing falling earnings during the current circuit breaker that aims to halt the spread of the coronavirus, but the company is continuing to cut its commission by at least 50 per cent for its private-hire car drivers until J
Ride-hailing firm Grab is facing falling earnings during the current circuit breaker that aims to halt the spread of the coronavirus, but the company is continuing to cut its commission by at least 50 per cent for its private-hire car drivers until June 1, and will waive commissions until May 10 for drivers who rent their cars from the firm.ST FILE PHOTO

Grab has cut the pay of its senior management by up to 20 per cent and encouraged its staff to take voluntary no-pay leave.

It has also cautioned that it might no longer be able to give drivers more financial help if the current circuit breaker measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak extend beyond June 1.

The technology firm is the largest private-hire and food delivery operator in Singapore. It is also a major e-payment player.

In a note to drivers on Wednesday evening, Grab Singapore's head of transport Andrew Chan said: "As our revenues continue to fall, senior Grab leaders have taken a pay cut of up to 20 per cent and Grab staff have also been encouraged to take no-pay leave voluntarily.

"We had been hopeful that the stricter circuit breaker measures would be lifted next week. Instead, the circuit breaker period was extended to June 1.

"We may no longer be able to provide extra financial support if the circuit breaker is extended past June 1."

To help its private-hire car drivers, Grab will continue to cut its commission by at least 50 per cent until June 1.

Drivers renting their cars from Grab will not have to pay any commission until May 10.

From May 10 to June 1, those who want to continue getting the full waiver of commission fees will have to complete at least 10 food or parcel deliveries weekly. Those who do not meet this criterion will have to pay a 5 per cent commission.

Drivers who rent cars from Grab will get free rental two days a week from May 4 until end-May. Grab said this would help the drivers save about 30 per cent in rental fees.

A weekly payout of $45 or $85 to help supplement drivers' income will also be extended to end-May.

Said Mr Chan: "Extending the assistance was not an easy decision. Grab's business has also been badly hit.

"It has taken us a few days to confirm this for you, as we needed to reroute some funding."

 
 
 

Funds were diverted from schemes such as incentives for best-performing drivers and cancellation compensation. Grab employees also made voluntary donations, matched by the firm to fund the extension of financial assistance.

The total value of the extended measures was not disclosed.

Mr Chan added that Grab will continue to create more job opportunities for its drivers, such as in parcel and grocery delivery.

Meanwhile, fellow ride-hailing firm Gojek said yesterday it will extend commission rebates to its drivers in line with the extended circuit breaker measures till June 1, and will give out grocery vouchers to more than 600 drivers.

But it did not give a detailed update on whether discounts on rentals - which account for a major part of drivers' costs - will continue past the original May 4 deadline.

When asked about the issue, a spokesman told The Straits Times: "The company will continue to review and look at ways to enhance its current support measures."

Taxi operators ComfortDelGro and SMRT have said they will continue to waive the rental - about $100 daily - for their taxi drivers up till June 1. This will cost them an additional $17 million and $6 million respectively.

Yesterday, The Business Times reported that Deliveroo will lay off a quarter of its 80-strong Singapore workforce as part of a global cut that will hit over 300 workers.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2020, with the headline 'Grab encourages staff to take voluntary no-pay leave'. Subscribe