From the many gracious letters and emails we receive, we know how much you care about our Cast Members and appreciate their role in creating joyful Disney moments for you and your loved ones. With that in mind, we felt it was important to share how we’re caring for our Cast Members as we navigate the longest closures in our history. You’ll find more details in the letter below, which was sent to our Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Cast Members on April 2.
The key to Disney magic is the connections you have with our Cast Members, and the memories you share. On behalf of the entire Disney Parks Cast, we hope that we will be able to welcome you back to Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort soon.
Rebecca and Josh
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 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.
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.