Joining a slew of other companies including Apple, Disney announced plans to offer direct benefits to company employees in 2018. Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, confirmed that 125,000 eligible employees will receive a one-time $1,000 cash bonus. The Company will also make an initial investment of $50 million in a new and ongoing education program specifically designed to cover tuition costs for hourly employees. The two new initiatives represent a total allocation of more than $175 million in this fiscal year.
All full and part-time non-executive employees, either hourly or salaried, who have been with The Walt Disney Company since January 1, 2018, and are based in the United States will be paid a one-time $1,000 cash bonus. Employees will receive the bonus in two payments, the first in March and the second in September of this year. In keeping with applicable federal law, the Company will work with union representatives regarding potential distribution plans for employees currently working under existing union contracts.
The Company is also launching a new education initiative aimed at its hourly workforce in the United States. Nearly 88,000 hourly employees will be eligible and can utilize the program to make an impactful investment in their future. With this new plan, participants can pursue qualifying higher education or vocational training, including courses unrelated to their current responsibilities at Disney. By creating new opportunities for those who wish to continue their education, employees can advance in their current roles or support their long-term career aspirations. After the initial investment of $50 million, Disney will provide up to $25 million in annual funding going forward.
The Company’s current educational reimbursement program, which is open to all full-time employees, will continue and remain unchanged.