April 2, 2020 / 10:31 PM / 2 months ago

Disney to furlough some U.S. employees in wake of coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with displayed "Disney" logo is seen on the keyboard in front of displayed "Streaming service" words in this illustration taken March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co said on Thursday it will start furloughs of non-essential U.S. employees across the company on April 19, a response to the global coronavirus outbreak that has shut down or disrupted its media and theme park businesses.

Disney had committed to full pay and benefits for all employees through April 18 despite the closure of theme parks, halting of film and TV production, and the shuttering of movie theaters.

“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,” a Disney representative said in a statement.

Furloughs will begin April 19, the statement said. All impacted workers will remain Disney employees through the furlough period and will receive full healthcare benefits. Disney will pay the cost of employee healthcare premiums.

The company did not say how many employees would be affected.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Lisa Shumaker

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