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Disney Says It Will Pay Benefits for Furloughed Disney World Workers

Walt Disney will furlough 43,000 Disney World employees as the theme park remains closed since mid-March.

Walt Disney  (DIS)  will furlough 43,000 Disney World employees as the theme park remains closed since mid-March due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The employees, however, will keep their medical, dental and life insurance benefits for the length of the furlough period, or up to a year, according to the Service Trades Council Union, the coalition of unions representing the Disney World workers.

“The union agreement provides stronger protections and benefits for 43,000 union workers at Disney than virtually any other furloughed or laid-off workers in the United States,” the union said in a statement.

About 200 workers performing "essential duties" will remain on the job during the closure, which will take effect Sunday, April 19.

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Disney said in mid-March it would close Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort. The previous week, the entertainment giant said it would shut the Disneyland Resort and the Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, Calif.

Disney confirmed Sunday it reached an agreement to maintain health insurance and other benefits for the workers during the furlough.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Service Trades Council Union that will maintain members’ health insurance benefits coverage, educational support and additional employee assistance programs during a temporary furlough effective April 19,” Walt Disney Resort said. “This agreement provides an easier return to work when our community recovers from the impact of Covid-19. We are grateful to have worked together in good faith to help our Cast Members navigate these unprecedented times.” 

Universal Studios, owned by Comcast  (CMCSA) , said last week it was extending the closure of its Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood through at least May 31.

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