Although many of its theme parks around the world have reopened, Disney is not entirely back up and running.
The Disneyland Resort theme parks are still closed and cruising is expected to be the last aspect of the company to resume. COVID-19 has greatly impacted the Disney company and other companies worldwide. We’ve seen lots of layoffs in various other hotels and theme parks, and now a large number of layoffs are coming to Disney World.
In a statement by Josh D’Amaro, current Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, posted on the Disney Parks News Twitter account, D’Amaro notes that due to “the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on [Disney’s] business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic — exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen — [Disney] has made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing [their] workforce at [their] Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels.”
Up to this point, Disney had kept many non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying their healthcare benefits. D’Amaro’s notice states that approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected by these layoffs, 67% of which are part-time.
In a letter sent to employees from D’Amaro, the Chairman notes that he believes “the heart and soul of [Disney’s] business is and always will be people.” He says that they initially hoped the pandemic would be short-lived and that things would return to normal quickly, but that has not been the case, and, as a result, they are now forced to reduce the size of their team “across executive, salaried, and hourly roles.”
D’Amaro notes that “this is the only feasible option [they] have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on [Disney’s] business.” The letter also indicates that appointments with affected salaried and non-union hourly employees will be scheduled over the next few days, and that Disney will be beginning the process of discussing the next steps with unions today.
Cast Members affected by these layoffs will still have access to some self-serve resources 90 days post-separation, and will also be able to access some HR resources post-separation where Disney’s HR team will be able to assist Cast Members in their transition. Some Cast Members enrolled in the Disney Aspire program may also have the ability to complete their program or term after separation.
Certain Cast Members — namely executive, salaried, and hourly non-union employees — should also have access to certain outplacement services including career transition coaches, resume support, job leads, and more. Disney is still in discussion with the unions regarding next-steps for union-represented employees.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this situation and we’ll let you know if we hear of any more updates.