MGM Resorts International announced on Friday that it is sending severance letters to 18,000 U.S. employees on leave during the coronavirus pandemic, making their downsizing permanent for the time being.
MGM's Empire City will remain closed in New York State, as will its MGM Park in Las Vegas. Las Vegas casinos, where MGM has an oversized presence on the Strip, continue to be particularly hard hit by declines in tourism and travel, capacity constraints, the lack of fans at sporting events, and negligible conference and group business.
At the beginning of this year, the company had 70,000 employees in the United States.
"Nothing hurts me more than the transmission of such messages," wrote CEO Bill Hornbuckle in the letter of separation to the employees. "At the heart of this company is our people and the great service they provide. Please know that your leadership team is working around the clock to find ways to grow our business and welcome more of our colleagues back."
The company said it will extend health benefits to employees on leave through September 30. It promises employees who are recalled before the end of the year that they will retain their seniority.
Federal law requires workers to be given a separation date if they have vacation longer than six months. August 31st marks a six-month administrative separation for MGM employees on leave.