OYO Founder Ritesh Agarwal Announces ESOPs Worth Rs130 Crore For Its Furloughed Employees

The company is granting around Rs 130 crore ($18 million) to all its furloughed employees impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past two months of 2020, hospitality unicorn OYO Hotels and Homes has been in the limelight for its global restructuring leading to mass layoffs across the 80 countries it has its business in. However, in a fresh wave, the company has made employee stock option (ESOP) allotments to a few employees.

Indian hospitality firm OYO is granting Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) worth around Rs 130 crore ($18 million) to all its furloughed employees impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The decision is part of its efforts to minimise the disruption being experienced by employees, an internal e-mail from its founder Ritesh Agarwal said on Monday.

On April 8, OYO founder and Group CEO Ritesh Agarwal in a letter and video message had said that the company will place a certain number of employees on furloughs or temporary leaves, globally.

The number of furloughed employees globally could run in thousands. The company, however, did not share any details regarding the number of the impacted employees, a media house reported.

In an internal town hall note to the impacted employees, Agarwal on Monday said that while he hoped that the company can get as many employees back, he is cognizant of the practical reality that the uncertainty around the COVID-19 situation will continue for some time.

"I would like to recognise your contributions and this love and passion for OYO by making you a co-owner and shareholder of the company. I would like to inform you that all impacted OYOpreneurs would be eligible for ESOPs worth around Rs 130 crore (around USD 18 million), Details on employees' specific grant will be shared on e-mail separately, which will be detailed as per their band and geographies, he added.

"In addition, we also understand that some of you may already have stock options. For those employees, we are dropping the one-year cliff on the vesting of stock options for everyone we have hired in the past year. This will ensure that everyone departing, regardless of how long they have been with OYO, can become a shareholder," Agarwal said.

Commenting on his move, he said, “This is the first time in the history of the company that such a large part of the organisation is being inducted as a stakeholder. That too at a time when some of you may decide not to be part of our future. This is a small token of gratitude from us for your contribution to building this company and for your unwavering support to us in good as well as bad times."

Considering the uncertainty around the timelines for complete business revival, the company has also announced placement support for furloughed employees, keen to explore opportunities outside of the company or industry. He said that the organisation will also come up with an institutionalised placement support system for those who wish to avail it.

Oyo is also actively working with the company's investors to identify opportunities in their portfolio companies and help its employees with alternative career opportunities in those companies, he added.

In Japan, the company has helped about  150 OYOpreneurs through this move," Agarwal said. He exclaimed his happiness on the same.

Agarwal told that the company has also formed an exigency fund for the employees who may need it for some critical illness cases.

Agarwal also said he was extremely sorry for the impact, and added that he wanted to re-emphasise that "This is not your fault in any way. This is a scary and tough time for all of us in different ways.”

He also added, "I am privileged to have worked with all of you. Thank you for helping the company get where it is today and for being an integral part of our company. Thank you for being a part of our lives. Thank you for coming to Oyo. We are all better because of it."

OYO, whose hotels have been shut since March 25 with the lockdown, will now be able to open its hotels from June 8.

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