Opera Australia has announced that it is temporarily standing down the majority of its staff from March 30 until the end of May, under an employee support package which will allow them to access up to 80 percent of their regular salary (based on a 38-hour week). Employees will be paid 50 percent of their salary, and have the option to top up with 30 percent from their annual leave, effectively giving them a package of 80 percent of their usual package.

The package is designed to retain the company’s workforce in the face of widespread layoffs across the arts and entertainment sectors following the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus.

Diego Torre and members of the Opera Australia chorus in Attila. Photograph © Prudence Upton

“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,” said a media release.

“The announcement will provide some certainty for OA’s staff amid an...