Disney Confirms Cast Members Will Be Auto-Enrolled in Florida’s Unemployment Database

Disney furloughs begin on Sunday, April 19th and now there is a silver lining to the dark day thousands of cast members will endure.

Disney has confirmed plans by Governor Ron DeSantis to auto-enroll cast members into Florida’s unemployment system.

Here’s a letter that has been sent to cast members.

Dear Valued FLORIDA-based Employee,

As an employee in Florida who has been placed on furlough status, we want to help you through this as much as possible. As such, we are taking steps to support you, including working with government leaders in Florida.

The high volume of new unemployment insurance (UI) claims during the past month has placed a tremendous burden on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) resources. We have been working with state officials to make the filing and reimbursement process easier for all Florida residents who are seeking UI.

As a result, the FL DEO has agreed to allow the Company to file new UI claims on behalf of our Florida-based employees, including you. Because we will be submitting claims on behalf of all our employees simultaneously, the DEO systems and resources will remain accessible and at capacity for other Floridians attempting to file their own claims during this unprecedented time.

Below, you will find information outlining what you need to know in terms of this process and next steps. It is important to remember that the company’s filing of a new “active” UI claim on your behalf does not automatically ensure your eligibility for UI benefits or automatically result in a UI benefits payment. To complete your filing, you will need to follow any instructions and respond to any inquiries from the Florida DEO.

We understand that this is a challenging and stressful time. You can contact GHRO by calling 321-939-7000 or visiting D Tools HR for assistance with any questions you may have.

Here’s what you need to know

Florida DEO uses the term “reemployment assistance (RA)” instead of “unemployment insurance (UI)”.

You do not need to file a claim with the Florida DEO – we are going to do that for you

Disney will only provide the key information required to establish an “active” claim, and you will be required to provide any other information within the next 30 days

The data provided will be based on the information we currently have in the company’s HR system of record

We will provide your personal email and physical address for the Florida DEO to correspond with you; if personal email is not available, the DEO will correspond via US Mail; we will not provide your work email; if your work email is the only email in the HR system of record, we will not be sharing an email and you will need to update in the DEO system

Your new UI claim will be active in the Florida DEO’s CONNECT database in the early part of next week (week of 4/19/20)

If you have recently filed a new claim on your own behalf, the company’s submittal will not impact the status of your claim; the DEO will address any discrepancies, and, as is normal during claims processing, the DEO may contact you regarding information in your claim

After your claim is “active”, the Florida DEO will send you an email (or written correspondence if personal email is not available) indicating the key next steps for you to take which may include such information as…

If you have never filed for unemployment in Florida, you will be provided a username and temporary PIN; if you have previously filed for unemployment in Florida, you should use your SSN and previously established PIN; if you don’t remember your PIN, select “Forgot PIN” button

Log in to CONNECT using the username/PIN provided and you may be prompted to change your PIN; if you have previously filed for unemployment, use your SSN and your previously established PIN

NOTE: you should wait until after you receive correspondence from the DEO containing your username and temporary PIN to log in to CONNECT; upon receiving this information, it is suggested to log in any time during the week of 4/19; because your claim will already be “active”, doing this in the early part of the week vs. the latter part of the week will not alter your already established “active” claim status; if you do not receive correspondence from the DEO in 1-2 weeks, you should call their contact center at 1-800-204-2418

Once in CONNECT, you should fill out any missing information that was not required for your claim to be established as “active”, but may be necessary for other purposes, such as…

Verifying your identity

Determining your eligibility and level of UI benefit

Providing your personal email if the company did not have in HR system of record

Indicating whether you want income taxes withheld from any eligible UI benefit payment

Indicating your preferred method of UI benefit payment (debit card or direct deposit)

NOTE: failure to provide missing information within 30 days will result in any eligible UI benefits being suspended

In CONNECT, you should follow DEO instructions on certifying and requesting your UI benefit payments during your furlough

This action by you is extremely important; you will not receive any UI benefit payments if you do not certify and request benefits per DEO instructions; the company cannot do this step for you

One component of certifying and requesting benefit payments will include declaring any pay that you receive during your furlough (which includes any vacation and floating holiday pay that you elected to use)

It is important to note that the company filing a new “active” UI claim on your behalf will not, in and of itself, ensure your eligibility for UI benefits or automatically result in UI benefits payments. It is important that you follow any instructions and respond to any inquiries from the Florida DEO.

Governor Ron DeSantis says cast members will not be given priority placing in the system, but they will be auto-enrolled.

Earlier this week he also signed an executive order waiving the requirement for employees to re-certify their status weekly.

According to the Governor’s schedule, he had a phone call with CEO Bob Chapek Friday night. At this time, the details of that phone call are unknown.

There is no timeline of when cast members will return to work.

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