Disney to begin short-term furlough for executive, salaried and non-union hourly Cast Members from April 19

Apr 03, 2020 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Disney has written to Cast Members advising them that it will soon begin the process of short-term furlough for many of its Cast Members in the United States as the theme parks remain closed due to coronavirus.

Beginning April 19 2020, furlough will begin for executive, salaried and non-union hourly Cast Members based in the U.S. with the exception of those who's roles or projects are crucial to maintaining operations during the closures.

Here is the full letter, signed by executives of Disney, Parks Experiences and Products.

Dear Cast Members and Imagineers:

As you know, over the past several weeks, COVID-19 has completely reshaped our daily lives as well as our business. A new chapter in the history of our company began when we closed our theme parks, hotels, stores and other operations to help lead the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. This reality has been sobering to all of us. As difficult as this decision was, we know it was the right one to help protect our Cast Members, our Guests and our communities.

True to the core of Disney, it is heartwarming to see many of you continuing to show your compassion, creativity and support for each other over the past few weeks. The acts of kindness and joy we’ve seen our Cast sharing have been inspirational. We appreciate all you do and know that our Cast Members will always be the heart and soul of Disney. This is why some of the choices we must make are extremely difficult.

At DPEP, as we look ahead, we must make tough decisions about the impacts of the extended closure, and are doing so with two priorities in mind:

  • Caring for our Cast Members: As a company and a leadership team, our focus now is on how best to care for our Cast Members – including keeping you safe, protecting your benefits, and preserving your job for the future.
  • Protecting the future of Disney: As we navigate an extraordinarily challenging business climate, we want to best position our company to weather this crisis.

With the utmost care and consideration, we are instituting a temporary, short-term furlough for executive, salaried and non-union hourly Cast Members based in the U.S. with the exception of those whose roles or projects are crucial to maintaining our operations during this closure period, effective April 19.

By taking this step now, we are able to allow Cast Members to:

  • Maintain health and insurance benefits coverage, with the company paying both the employer and employee weekly benefit contributions;
  • If eligible, elect to use some or all of their available paid-time off hours (vacation and floating holidays) at the start of the furlough;
  • Once furloughed, access an extra $600 per week in federal compensation through the economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance benefits;
  • Continue progress toward their education goals with the Disney Aspire education program; and
  • Use services provided by LifeCare, Employee Assistance Program and wellness resources.

And most important, this allows us to preserve the jobs of Cast Members who are, and will continue to be, an important part of the Disney family; and provide an easier return to work when our communities recover from the impact of COVID-19.

As part of our commitment to our collective bargaining agreements we will be setting up meetings today with the unions.

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.

Early next week, your leaders will be reaching out to you. We know that nothing about this situation is easy and that we’re all facing different challenges in our lives right now. We hope that before long, we will all be able to come together, once again, as a stronger Disney family to create magic for our Guests.

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Article Posted: Apr 03, 2020 / 7:26am ET