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Universal Orlando Extending Furloughs of 5,400 Workers, State Filing Shows

ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Orlando has notified the state that almost 5,400 furloughed workers will remain on furlough until further notice.


What You Need To Know

  • The extended furlough affects about 5,389 workers
  • Exec: Extension due to “not reasonably foreseeable” circumstances
  • The furloughs are not expected to be permanent at this time

In the notification, which was sent to the state on September 4, Universal Orlando’s senior vice president of human resources cited the unforeseen impacts COVID-19 has had on operations for the furlough extensions.

“When Universal Orlando initially notified these Team Members of their furlough, Universal Orlando could not have anticipated that it would exceed six months,” Scot LaFerte wrote in the notice to the state. “However, due to business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time, Universal Orlando now expects that these Team Members’ furlough could extend beyond six months from their initial furlough date.”

The furloughs, which are not expected to permanent at this time, affect a variety of positions across the resort, including 611 quick service associates, 450 cooks, 416 attraction attendants, 282 merchandise associates, and 215 security officers.

Universal Orlando closed its theme parks in mid-March in response to the pandemic. Part-time and hourly workers were furloughed in May as the closure continued into the summer.

By June, Universal had reopened it parks, but many employees had not yet been called back to work. And an undisclosed number of workers were laid off this summer.

As Universal works to recover from the pandemic, it has made a number of changes, including pausing work on its new Epic Universe theme parks, temporarily closing some of its attractions, canceling its popular Halloween Horror Nights event, and adjusting operating hours at its parks. 

News of Universal’s extended furloughs comes just a day after records revealed that SeaWorld had permanently laid off nearly 1,900 furloughed workers earlier this month.

Thousands of Disney World workers also remain furloughed. In August, Disney notified those workers that their furloughs would likely last longer than originally anticipated. 

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