Ukrainian Tesla employees who are asked to return to defend their country will receive pay for at least three months, according to an email the company sent on Monday to employees in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. It wasn’t clear from the email whether this benefit would be extended to employees in North America and elsewhere.
After three months, Tesla plans to reassess the Russia-Ukraine war and their employees’ situations to decide what more will be needed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called up reservists to fight back in February, ahead of the anticipated invasion.
In the Monday email — sent on the 12th day after Russia invaded Ukraine — Tesla employees were also praised for helping SpaceX, the aerospace venture also led by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, to bring its Starlink satellite internet service to Ukraine.
Among other things, Tesla’s Energy team assembled and provided lithium ion battery energy storage systems known as Tesla Powerwalls to run Starlink equipment in Ukraine.
Tesla employees used inverters and charging cables that were donated by Tesla’s certified installers in the area to assemble the Starlink-and-Powerwall systems. They also fashioned AC cables from scrap at Tesla’s new factory being built outside of Berlin to help power Starlink equipment.
Although Tesla does not operate in Ukraine, the company said in the email that about 5,000 Tesla owners in the country and other EV drivers could obtain free vehicle charging at some of its Supercharger stations in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.
Tesla is not alone in navigating impacts to employees and its own business in the wake of the Russian war on Ukraine.
Automakers such as General Motors and Ford in the U.S. moved quickly to suspend their business in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Stellantis announced on March 2 that it had established a support team that would operate around the clock to support and monitor the health and safety of the company’s 71 Ukraine-based employees.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here is the full text of the email, which was sent by Axel Tangen, Tesla’s director of Northern Europe, on behalf of the company’s HR director for the EMEA region, Mariam Khalifa, and senior director for Tesla EMEA, Joe Ward. The email was transcribed by CNBC with photos of Tesla employees and facilities removed for privacy.