Barbie Hsu’s Husband Clarifies Reports Of His Hotel Staff Being Laid Off Despite Agreeing To Take Unpaid Leave
It has not been a good time for the tourism industry. The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus — which, by the way, has been named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization — has resulted in widespread travel bans, and affected companies have been asking their staff to take unpaid leave as a way to save money.
S Hotel, which is owned by Taiwanese actress Barbie Hsu’s husband, Wang Xiaofei, was said to be one of those companies. This was reportedly revealed by one of employees of the four-star Taipei establishment, who shared that a company-wide meeting was held at the hotel’s restaurant on the afternoon of February 4.
According to the employee, the unpaid leave agreement forms were distributed to all staff members on that day. The terms state that up to seven working days are to be reduced each month from February 1 to March 31, and that those who do not wish to sign the contract will be given a severance notice.
However, on February 10, several employees who agreed to sign the form were also given severance notices, leading to confusion and dissatisfaction.
When approached by a reporter, Xiaofei acknowledged that they are looking for ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses, but denied forcing unpaid leave contracts or severance notices on anybody.
“Everything is done in accordance with the relevant government regulations,” he said. “I did call for a meeting with the staff to discuss this matter, and a majority of them agreed to weather this storm together. For the handful who did not agree, the company will make the necessary arrangements while adhering to labour laws.”
As for the issue with the staff who were supposedly let go on February 10 despite agreeing to take unpaid leave, the 38-year-old clarified that he had called for another meeting with them on that day and given them the rest of the afternoon to rethink their decision.
“However, four employees only got back to us the next day, and since the list of staff choosing to remain with the company had already been finalised the night before, those four were let go.”
Xiaofei then took the opportunity to make a morale-boosting declaration to his staff: “The day anyone joins my company, [he or she] immediately becomes part of my family, and they will never receive unfair treatment.”
A representative for Barbie was also quoted by a Taiwanese paper as saying, “The global economy has been severely affected by this epidemic. We must all endure these difficult times together.”