Disney decision to furlough crew welcome

2 April 2020

Disney has written to crew working across its latest productions including those being produced by Lucas Films and Marvel informing them they can be furloughed until the end of May.

Film crew

The studio informed crew on 20 March that due to the pandemic they would be postponing production from 3 April and terminating contracts.

In a letter sent to crew yesterday (31 March), Disney outlined that it will be using the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and will rescind termination notices so that people can become a “furloughed crew member”.

Disney is proposing to start the furlough crew from the day that they received their termination letter and pay them 80% of their salary up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Bectu has also written to nearly 300 film and TV production companies urging them to furlough PAYE freelancers.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“We welcome Disney’s decision to furlough crew until the end of May when the government has said the JRS will run until. Disney is taking its responsibilities as an employer seriously and this is model behaviour that the rest of the industry should be looking to follow.

“We are calling on all production companies to do the same where they can and if cash flow is a problem to consider using the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme.

“There are many PAYE freelancers out there who have been waiting weeks for government help and one of their only options is to be furloughed. Employers must explore this option where possible to help alleviate the stress and anxiety that many are experiencing at the moment.

“Bectu will continue to highlight the range of hurdles freelancers and the self-employed are facing to qualify for financial support to the Treasury.”

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Now more than ever, we are stronger together. Bectu will continue to work to ensure a better deal for workers in the creative industries and the more members we have, the stronger our voice.
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