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Disney Workers Wait To See If They’re Part of a Furlough Extension

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Photo: Amy Humphries

Walt Disney World is advising workers to prepare for the possibility their furloughs could be extended through November.

Affected employees got letters from the company alerting them that their furloughs could extend for six months beyond the initial April 19th date. 

Charissa Ward who works part-time at Hollywood Studios as a server says she’s still waiting to see if she’ll be affected. She says her family’s already struggling. 

“You know, I have three kids so I have to support them and it’s been challenging even with the extra money that the federal government was pitching in at the time up through July. It didn’t replace my income.”

Plus, Ward says it’s hard to be away from her teammates for so long.

“I miss the guests and helping them and giving them a good experience, but I also miss the camaraderie of being with your fellow cast members. I mean we are what makes that place work.”

Furloughed workers will continue to receive insurance and can apply for unemployment benefits but can’t perform any function of their job.

Here’s more information for current employees directly from a copy of the letter:

• “You will continue to remain an employee while on furlough.

• If you are currently enrolled in company benefits, your coverage will continue, and the company will continue to pay your weekly employee contribution during the furlough period. Please note that information about annual enrollment for the 2021 calendar year will be provided separately in the coming weeks.

• If you have available paid time off, you will have the opportunity to elect to use some or all of it as an alternative to state unemployment benefits.

• You may continue to be eligible for your state’s unemployment benefits, job retraining, re-employment services, or other assistance through your state unemployment agency. Please review the Unemployment Guide on the Furlough Resources Center.

• All other furlough policies and protocols will remain unchanged.”

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »