Opera Australia has announced a new employee support package designed to retain their workforce.
Following the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus, and the widespread layoffs across the arts and entertainment sectors, details of the contribution have been revealed today.
Like so many Australian companies, Opera Australia 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 COVID-19.
In direct response to the pandemic, effective from Monday, 30 March 2020, Opera Australia 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 support will provide some certainty for the company’s staff amid an increasingly volatile environment. Opera Australia Chairman David Mortimer 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,” Mortimer said.
“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.”
In addition to the package, Opera Australia will continue 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.
The Executive Team, 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 Opera Australia is in a position to reinvigorate its activities when restrictions are eased.
Already the venue has had to cancel a number of planned seasons across The Sydney Opera House and the Arts Centre Melbourne, including ‘Bran Nue Dae’, ‘Handa Opera’ on Sydney Harbour and Melbourne’s Autumn Season. The move recognises that the health and well-being of its staff is essential in securing the Company’s future.
Opera Australia have also acknowledged the government’s support for the Company’s and broader sector’s casual employees through its recently announced stimulus packages.
Photography and Media Release sourced via Opera Australia.