WWE underwent massive talent releases and furloughs on Wednesday, the largest in the company’s history.
WWE announced that the move is resulting in an estimated monthly savings of $4 million, with cash flow improvement of $140 million primarily from the deferral in spending of the new WWE headquarters that was scheduled to open next year.
Several WWE producers were furloughed, including Fit Finlay, Shane Helms, Billy Kidman, Mike Rotunda, Pat Buck, Shawn Daivari, Scott Armstrong, Sarah Stock and Lance Storm.
Wrestling Inc. has learned that employees who were furloughed received an information packet which stated that they were furloughed because of the “current level of work available as a result of COVID-19.” The pandemic was referred to “an unforeseen circumstance, akin to a natural disaster.” While Wednesday was the last official work day, they will remain on payroll until this Saturday, when the furlough officially begins.
The furlough end date is July 1, 2020, although it was specified that it was subject to extension “given the current situation and ongoing uncertainties.” It was noted that while there is not a definitive end date, the expectation is that it will last fewer than six months, although WWE reserves the right to extend or terminate the furlough period at their discretion. It was stated that they plan to keep employees informed of decisions made during that time. While they hope that the furloughs will be sufficient, it was noted that layoffs might be necessary.
WWE will be covering health insurance contributions during the furlough period for employees enrolled in the WWE health plan, and they will retain their seniority with the company. WWE noted that furloughed employees will not be receiving a paycheck, however they may be eligible for unemployment benefits as well as the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides additional unemployment insurance of $600 per week.
We cannot confirm that the packet was the same for every employee, however we were able to confirm that the one described here was sent to multiple people.