With Disneyland and Disney World closed “until further notice” amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Walt Disney Company announced it would furlough workers starting April 19.
Disney said in a statement Thursday that employees will be paid through April 18. The workers have received full pay and benefits since “mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority” of the company’s businesses, which include the Florida and California theme parks.
“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 company said in its statement.
The impacted workers, who will remain company employees through the furloughs, will receive full healthcare benefits, Disney said, adding it would pay the cost of both the employee and company premiums.
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Employees can also use some or all of their paid time off at the start of the furlough period, Disney said.
Disney said the furloughed employees are eligible to receive $600 per week as part of the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill and state unemployment insurance, which is the standard for all furloughed and laid off workers.
A record 6.65 million Americans filed first-time jobless claims last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, in a sign that the sudden shutdown of a vast swath of U.S. commerce may be starting to wreak havoc on the economy.
The Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment has around 177,000 cast members, which includes staff that work in its theme parks and at retail locations like the Disney Store, which also are closed across the nation.
According to a document filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission March 30, executive chairman Bob Iger is forgoing his base salary through the last payroll period of the fiscal year and and waiving his car allowance. The company’s new CEO Bob Chapek will have his base salary reduced by 50%.
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Contributing: Paul Davidson
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko