Opera Australia (OA) has announced details of an employee support package designed to retain their workforce in the face of widespread layoffs across the arts and entertainment sectors following the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus.
Like so many Australian companies, OA is faced with a complete absence of ticketing revenue following the government’s closure of all performances in the coming months, in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. OA recognises that the health and well-being of its staff is essential in securing the Company’s future.
In direct response to the pandemic, effective from Monday 30 March, OA will be temporarily standing down the majority of its staff from across the Company until the end of May, offering a package that allows staff to access up to 80% of their regular salary (based on a 38 hour week). The announcement will provide some certainty for OA’s staff amid an increasingly volatile
In addition, OA is continuing discussions with the relevant federal and state governments to secure further provisions that will enable the Company to continue to support its workforce beyond the end of May. OA also acknowledges the government’s support for the Company’s and broader sector’s casual employees through its recently announced stimulus packages.
OA Chairman David Mortimer AO outlined the difficulties facing the Company as it continues to work towards ensuring the retention of its extraordinarily skilled and highly talented workforce.
“For many this is the most challenging time of their lives, and certainly for the people of Opera Australia,” said Mr Mortimer. “Their commitment, tireless efforts, passion and unique skills define the Company. We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of all our stakeholders and the arts community.”
“On behalf of the Board, we are grateful to everyone that makes up the OA team for their efforts, along with their patience and support through these difficult times,” said Mr Mortimer.
The Executive Team of OA, comprising the leadership group across the Company areas, will continue to work through this period – and will all be taking reductions in their pay either in line with those who have been temporarily stood down or greater. They will continue to focus on supporting their staff and working to ensure OA is in a position to reinvigorate its activities when restrictions are eased.
For more information about Opera Australia, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Opera Australia’s production of Carmen – photo by Prudence Upton