ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Walt Disney World plans to stop paying wages to 43,000 workers in about a week while allowing them to keep their benefits for up to a year as they stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The deal with the workers unions was announced on Saturday.
This is the largest wave of furloughs since the theme park resort closed in mid-March.
Workers will be able to keep their medical benefits for the length of the furlough period, or up to a year.
Seniority and wage rates will remain unchanged for the workers whose furloughs start April 19.
About 200 workers will remain on the job.
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Here are the announced details, per the Service Trades Council Union (STCU):
- Everyone’s job, seniority, wage rate and benefits are guaranteed through the furlough, even if you stay on furlough after Disney reopens. Seniority continues indefinitely beyond 12 months.
- Everyone who has insurance will keep it for the duration of the furlough up to 12 months, including both full-time workers as well as part-time workers who qualify under the Affordable Care Act.
- Insurance means all insurance benefits: medical, dental, life, etc. with no exceptions.
- Disney will pay 100% of your insurance. You will not owe back payments when you return to work.
- For insurance eligibility and pension contributions, full-time workers will be credited 40 hours per week during the furlough. Part-time workers will get credit for their weekly average hours worked since October 2019.
- If you are a new worker, you can choose insurance after your 90-day probation just as you had planned.
- If you come back from an approved Leave of Absence during the furlough, you are covered by the Union’s agreement.
- If you have a qualifying life event, you can get insurance. Example, if you had insurance through your spouse but your spouse loses their job, you can enroll in Disney insurance. The same is true for a divorce or the birth of a child.
- If the furlough continues until the next open enrollment period in 2020, you will be able to choose insurance.
- Vacation, Floating Holidays and Paid Time Off (part-time employees): From April 12-18, you can choose to have it paid out weekly up to 40 hours per week until it is gone.
- Full-time employees can also choose to be paid out accumulated sick days above 96 hours.
- Other basic programs continue: HUB access, Aspire, Maingate, etc.
- If you are in a job that requires certain skills or proficiencies, the Company cannot say you lose them.
- A small group of less than 200 workers will do “essential” duties during the closure. The work will be offered to volunteers by seniority. If not enough people volunteer, the work will be assigned to the least senior workers. If you have a legitimate health, safety, childcare or other reason you cannot work, you will not be forced to work and you will not be penalized. You will remain on furlough.
- If any worker covered by Disney insurance needs COVID-19 testing, Disney insurance will pay for it.