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Disney to furlough employees amid coronavirus closures

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The Walt Disney Company is set to start furloughing its employees “whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time”, amid the global coronavirus crisis.

Disney employees will be furloughed as of April 19. They will receive “full health care benefits, plus the cost of employee and company premiums will be paid by Disney”.

In a statement, Disney said the pandemic is “having a devastating impact on our world with untold suffering and loss”.

“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.”

Disney employees furloughed as of April 19

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The statement adds that “with no clear indication of when we can restart our business, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time”.

All affected workers will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period. Employees with available paid time off can use some or all of it at the start of the furlough period.

Disney adds that once furloughed, staff “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”.

The company also recently said that its top executives would take pay cuts on base salaries. Bob Iger will give up his entire base salary, while Bob Chapek will take a 50 percent pay cut on his salary.

Disney theme parks closed globally over COVID-19

shanghai disney

Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris temporarily closed in March in light of the pandemic. Disney previously shut theme parks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World in Florida remain closed indefinitely. Tokyo Disney Resort has also extended its temporary closure.

However, Shanghai Disney Resort has partially reopened, although Shanghai Disneyland is still closed. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris remain closed over COVID-19.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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