Disney to furlough "non-essential" employees at theme parks, waives annual pass fees

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One of the largest companies in the world, this decision will leave thousands of Disney employees on unpaid furlough.

A Disney statement does not indicate how long a furlough might last.

The company did not say how many employees would be affected. The unions that represent Disneyland workers have been pushing for their members to be paid throughout the shutdown.

The furlough is beginning in the parks division, while Disney's other lines of business are still making their determinations.

Employees who are crucial to operations will continue in their roles, while those on furlough will receive full health care benefits. The company did, however, release Pixar's Onward for early digital release and the Tom Holland and Chris Pratt-voiced film will hit Disney Plus this Friday. The House of Mouse is also donating medical supplies to hospitals, while former and current CEOs Bob Iger and Bob Chapek are foregoing all or part of their salaries in a show of solidarity.

"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", a spokesperson for the Walt Disney Company told FOX LA.

"Over the last few weeks, mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority of our businesses", the statement said.

Employees can also apply paid vacation time to the start of their furlough if they desire, the company said. Ever since Disney made a decision to shutter most of its operations in the wake of the coronavirus, employees were promised that they would retain their benefits and have their pay extended until April 18.

The company committed to paying employees through April 18 but said there was "no clear indication" of when it would be able to restart its businesses. The furlough process will begin on April 19, and all impacted workers will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period.

Once furloughed, the workers are eligible to receive an extra $600 each week in federal compensation through the country's $2 coronavirus relief bill, in addition to receiving money from the state's unemployment insurance, WFTV reports.

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