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Thunder Valley Casino Resort closing due to coronavirus leaving employees with temporary pay, benefits

Several Thunder Valley Casino Resort workers told ABC10 on the condition of anonymity that they're worried they'll lose pay and benefits because of the closure.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — Multiple casinos in Northern California are planning to close their doors temporarily as a precautionary measure to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

This includes big names like the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento and now the Thunder Valley Casino Resort. But there is a difference between how these two casinos are handling their employee benefits.

In a statement to ABC10, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento said it would continue to pay workers full compensation and health benefits during the closure.

“We are focused on the wellbeing of our team and this means a continued commitment to payroll, benefits and appropriate health and welfare measures which are paramount," stated Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain President Mark Birtha. "Our employees come from right here in the Sacramento area, with over 70% coming from Yuba and Sutter counties.”

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Meanwhile, multiple Thunder Valley Casino Resort employees told ABC10 on the condition of anonymity that the casino will only pay worker until Friday, March 20th when the doors close.

A letter obtained by ABC10 shows that Thunder Valley Casino and Resort would allow benefits for workers as well as allow them to use their PTO to cover their pay for the days they miss.

Doug Elmets, a spokesperson for Thunder Valley said, "Like other casinos in the region, Thunder Valley will continue to pay team members through the end of the month and reassess at that time."

Here are the benefits Thunder Valley offered to employees, according to the letter:

  • Continue to provide full health benefits for Team members through the end of April.
  • Allow Team Members to utilize their PTO balances to continue being paid, or a Team Member’s discretion, opt to take unpaid leave.
  • At Team Member’s Request, advance an additional 80 hours of PTO, allowing PTO balance to go negative up to a maximum of 80 hours.
  • At Team Member’s request, allow Team Member contributions for healthcare to be paid back on a payment plan upon return to work.
Credit: Mayde Gomez

ABC10 spoke with a woman whose husband works at Thunder Valley spouse who says she lost her job because of the coronavirus. She spoke under the condition of anonymity because of her husband's job.

The woman said she has a compromised immune system and relies on her husband insurance to obtain the medications

"I can’t go back to work until this is over," the woman explained. "So right now, I’m relying on my spouse's insurance to help me get through this.”

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She said she doesn't understand how other casinos can continue to pay their employees and allow them to keep their medical benefits until they open back up, and Thunder Valley will only keep the employees' medical benefits until the end of April.

“They are stiffing their employees," she said. "They are basically telling them we don’t care about you or your families, we don’t care about your children."

Elmets told ABC10 that Thunder Valley is still working on the details of what workers will be able to receive while the casino is closed down.

"We haven’t ruled out anything and will do everything in our power to take care of our team members," Elmets said. "Thunder Valley’s employee benefits package is far superior to the coverage of many casinos offer in the region."

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Mayde Gomez.



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