Coronavirus leads Marriott to furlough employees without pay

Furloughed employees will retain health benefits, the company said

Marriott International Inc. has started to close hotels and furlough employees as the coronavirus outbreak has caused travel cancellations and restrictions, according to one report.

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The hotel company expects to place tens of thousands of employees on furlough without pay -- though they will still receive health care benefits, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Marriott reportedly started closing properties last week.

In the U.S., Mariott employs 130,000 people, according to the newspaper.

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A spokesperson told the newspaper that general managers, housekeepers and staff in between are being included in the reductions. Corporate employees have not yet been included in the furloughs, but they are “under discussion,” The Journal reported.

Marriott has started closing hotels and furloughing employees as the coronavirus hits the hotel industry with travel cancellations and restrictions. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Once the coronavirus is contained, the company expects to bring back as many of the furloughed staff as it can, according to the newspaper.

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The company did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

According to The Journal, U.S. hotels have seen occupancy levels drop to 20 percent or lower, leading many to close down and lay off employees.

Already, the hotel industry expects that 1 million U.S. jobs have been eliminated or will be in the coming weeks.

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The report of the furloughs comes as executives from Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Disney were due to meet with President Trump at the White House Tuesday afternoon to discuss aid for the franchisees who own most U.S. hotels.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MARMARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL INC.99.88-4.53-4.34%
HHYATT HOTELS57.02-2.48-4.17%
HLTHILTON WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS INC.89.64-1.53-1.68%
DISWALT DISNEY COMPANY128.63-1.59-1.22%

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.