Disney announces furloughs for non-essential employees across company

Coronavirus

LOS ANGELES, – MARCH 14: Disney theme parks are closed as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 14, 2020 in Anaheim, California. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney announced on Thursday the company will be instituting a short-term furlough for executive, salaried, and non-union hourly employees based in the U.S. effective April 19.

The furloughs will impact employees that work in the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products division of the company. Some employees whose roles are deemed crucial to maintaining operations at the company will not be impacted.

Disney said it will maintain health and insurance benefits coverage for its employees, “with the company paying both the employer and employee weekly benefit contributions.”

Cast Members, once furloughed, will be eligible to use paid time off at the start of the furlough. Employees will also be eligible to receive $600 a week as part of the federal stimulus plan.

“This certainly is one of the most difficult choices the company has ever faced. But we are committed to doing everything we can – even when the decisions are unimaginably hard – to help preserve jobs and help ensure that our Cast Members can return to their roles,” Disney executives wrote in an email to Cast Members.

Disney said company leaders will be reaching out to impacted employees early next week.

Disney issued a statement on Thursday:

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on our world with untold suffering and loss, and has required all of us to make sacrifices. Over the last few weeks, mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority of our businesses. Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we’ve committed to paying them through April 18, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation. However, with no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time. The furlough process will begin on April 19, and all impacted workers will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period. They will receive full healthcare benefits, plus the cost of employee and company premiums will be paid by Disney, and those enrolled in Disney Aspire will have continued access to the education program. Additionally, employees with available paid time off can elect to use some or all of it at the start of the furlough period and, once furloughed, they are eligible to receive an extra $600 per week in federal compensation through the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance.

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