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Boyd begins laying off furloughed employees


Casino operator Boyd Gaming has taken the “extremely difficult decision” to lay off staff members still on furlough, having warned in May that disruption caused by novel coronavirus (Covid-19) could force it to significantly cut headcount. 

In May, at a time when the casino sector was shuttered as a result of Covid-19, the operator informed workers that between 25% and 60% of staff could lose their jobs, with layoffs likely to take place between July 1 and 14. 

The layoffs are at the lower end of the scale suggested in May, Boyd told iGB North America. This comes after the business placed the majority of staff on furlough in April, which it described at the time as a “last resort”.

Boyd explained that while it had been able to reopen most of its properties since May, the business was still facing “significant restrictions”, and visitation remained “well below pre-pandemic levels”.

“Given these ongoing challenges and continued uncertainty, we are moving forward with permanent layoffs of team members who were still on furlough and had not been recalled to work,” a spokesperson for the operator told iGB North America.

“We are notifying affected team members as expeditiously as we can.”

The operator originally wrote to employees under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires businesses with 100 or more employees to provide staff with at least 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs. 

However, in that letter Boyd said it was unable to give 60 days’ notice, “because of the pandemic’s sudden, unforeseeable and dramatic impact on [its] business”.

The operator added that it was an “extremely difficult decision” to proceed with layoffs, and one it had hoped would not be necessary.

“To assist impacted team members during this difficult time, we will be providing financial assistance to those who are affected,” the spokesperson added.

It comes as Covid-19 cases in Nevada, where it operates 12 properties, are once again on the rise. This has prompted Governor Steve Sisolak to issue an executive order closing bars in seven counties, including Clark County and the Las Vegas casinos.

Further layoffs are likely in Nevada, with Penn National Gaming announcing in June that it would cut staff numbers in Las Vegas and Pennsylvania, beginning August 15. Las Vegas’ Treasure Island, meanwhile, announced that 414 employees would be let go from August 14.