United Talent Agency Reinstates Full Pay for Employees, Lays Off 50

The talent agency also laid off roughly 50 employees, some of whom were previously furloughed

Last Updated: September 2, 2020 @ 1:12 PM

United Talent Agency is looking to come out on the other side of the pandemic shutdown and will reinstate full pay for its employees by mid-September, CEO Jeremy Zimmer said in a memo to staff on Wednesday.

“We’ve been able to manage through this period as well as we could have hoped–in great part because of the shared sacrifice you have made these past six months through the pay reductions. We know this has been a difficult time and I’m pleased to share that time is over,” Zimmer wrote in his memo.

“Effective two weeks from now, on September 16, we will fully reinstate salaries for all of our colleagues,” he continued. “In addition, we are continuing to follow through on our commitment of meaningful increases in base pay for our assistants and hourly-compensated colleagues, building further on the increases we instituted several weeks ago.”

UTA also, however, laid off roughly 50 employees across several divisions on Wednesday, some of whom had previously been furloughed.

Back on March 23 UTA, like many other Hollywood agencies and businesses, was forced to cut staff and institute salary cuts in order to help cut down on costs and keep the agency afloat as the pandemic put a chokehold on the industry.

Zimmer said in his memo to staff that the agency isn’t able to bring back furloughed employees yet.

“Even with these positive developments, we have some sobering news. Our business is recovering, but the need remains to take a hard and honest look at the size and makeup of UTA–and make decisions that reflect what our business requires not just short term but for the foreseeable future,” Zimmer wrote. “The most important thing we can do right now is continue to manage UTA carefully, deliberately and day-by-day.”

Read the full memo from UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer below.

I have some very positive updates to share for most of our colleagues, as well as some additional news unfolding today that is more difficult.

First, the good news. Our industry is showing increasing signs of recovery and stability. Parts of our business have remained steady despite the impact of COVID-19 and, in some areas, we’ve performed stronger than expected. We’ve been able to manage through this period as well as we could have hoped–in great part because of the shared sacrifice you have made these past six months through the pay reductions. We know this has been a difficult time and I’m pleased to share that time is over.

Effective two weeks from now, on September 16, we will fully reinstate salaries for all of our colleagues. In addition, we are continuing to follow through on our commitment of meaningful increases in base pay for our assistants and hourly-compensated colleagues, building further on the increases we instituted several weeks ago. We will be sharing more details on that over the next 24 hours. While our overtime restrictions remain in effect, we will continue to review those policies too. And knowing how hard everyone continues to work under these unusual circumstances, we’ve decided to continue summer half-day Fridays through September 25.

Even with these positive developments, we have some sobering news. Our business is recovering, but the need remains to take a hard and honest look at the size and makeup of UTA–and make decisions that reflect what our business requires not just short term but for the foreseeable future. For that reason, today we are implementing a staff reduction that will affect about 50 of our colleagues. It’s always a difficult decision to make. The reductions will take place in several parts of our business and include both active and some furloughed colleagues. We are committed to doing our best by them with generous severance packages.

As for our other furloughed colleagues, we are not able to reinstate them at this time and, given the continued uncertainty, we can’t yet set any expectations about when that might happen. The most important thing we can do right now is continue to manage UTA carefully, deliberately and day-by-day. Tomorrow we’ll hold an All UTA meeting to discuss all this.

Although there are still uncertain times ahead, I am grateful for all we have accomplished together to bring us to this point. The successes we continue to achieve for clients are truly amazing. We have packaged, innovated, dreamed and sometimes simply willed into existence great and unique opportunities for artists across UTA.  

We have shown up for each other, on every Zoom, day and night. The spirit of collaboration and teamwork is everywhere. Thanks for all your efforts, your faith and your commitment.  

Jeremy