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Tesla workers won’t be paid for part of factory shutdown

Tesla factory workers could reportedly be forced to take up to three days of unpaid leave while the company idles some production lines at its California plant.

The electric-car maker plans to shut down production of its Model X and Model S vehicles for two and a half weeks from Dec. 24 through Jan. 10, according to an internal announcement published by CNBC.

Tesla told affected workers at the Fremont, California factory that they’ll be paid for the second full week of the break from Jan. 4 to Jan. 8, as well as the holidays of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

But the world’s most valuable automaker is reportedly classifying three days of the shutdown — Dec. 28 to Dec. 30 — as “unpaid time off.” That means the sidelined workers could have to dip into their own paid time off to cover those days or else go without pay.

Tesla said it will provide “limited paid opportunities” for affected staffers to work in other parts of the factory over those three days, CNBC reported. They can also “volunteer” to help with vehicle deliveries between Christmas and New Year’s, though it’s unclear whether they’ll be compensated for that time in any way.

“We will do our best to accommodate your requests, but preferences are not guaranteed and will be granted on a first come first serve basis,” Tesla reportedly said in the Friday email.

Tesla announced the shutdown despite billionaire CEO Elon Musk pleading staffers in a separate email to “increase production for the remainder of the quarter as much as possible,” according to CNBC.

Musk — the world’s second richest person — reportedly said demand for Tesla cars is “quite a bit higher” than the company’s current production levels.

But his email didn’t specify how demand for the Model X and Model S compares to demand for Tesla’s cheaper Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. The latter two models accounted for about 89 percent of the 139,300 cars Tesla delivered in the third quarter.

Tesla did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment early Monday.

The planned shutdown comes as Tesla grapples with recalls of the Model S and Model X.

The Silicon Valley company recalled more than 9,000 Model X’s in the US last month over concerns about parts of their roofs flying off. Another recall was issued in China in October for about 30,000 Model S and X cars with reported suspension problems that Tesla blamed on “driver abuse.”

Tesla shares were up about 1.2 percent in premarket trading Monday at $617.20 as of 8:02 a.m.

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