Furlough: What it means and what to do

Furlough: What it means and what to do

Nicholas Leonard
Community Specialist
April 8, 2020
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The Coronavirus has triggered an enormous surge in layoffs, causing a record-high number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits. Many of our members, such as Carrie and Bey have been impacted.

Before the Coronavirus some of us may have never even heard the word “furlough” before, but suddenly it seems to be everywhere. In place of laying off workers, some major companies such as Macy's, Gap, Kohl's and Marriot have decided to furlough their employees. So what exactly does furlough mean? Let's break it down!

What is a furlough?

A furlough is a temporary, employer-mandated leave from work that is unpaid. It is an arrangement as a means to hold your job in hopes that one day soon you will be able to return. In this case when economic conditions improve due to the pandemic. It is typically an effort to save costs that can affect both public and private employers. However, the specific terms vary depending on where you work.

Why do companies do this?

As companies are falling under temporary economic pressure they furlough employees as a means to keep the business going by reducing payroll for the time being. It puts a temporary pause on things that in the future would allow it to staff up again and bring back experienced, already trained employees from furlough to take up those jobs again.

Will I still have my health benefits while being furloughed?

Staying covered with health insurance now is an important part of staying safe. Your employer generally will keep up with your health benefits while you're not working, though the extent can vary depending on the rules in your state. You are also eligible to file for unemployment without it affecting your health benefits. You will however still be responsible for your out-of-pocket costs if you need medical care.

How is it different from being laid off?

Furloughed workers remain on an employer's payroll but aren't paid for the period they are not actively working. After the furlough, employees can return to work and avoid any paperwork or processes to become an active employee. A furlough unlike being laid off is temporary and requires a worker to take some unpaid time off or work reduced hours. Often, these individuals can keep their seniority status and return to the same pay level when they return. While a furlough is meant to be a temporary arrangement, being laid off is more permanent as the employee loses all benefits as well as salary. The door is open for one’s return when furloughed; when laid off, it may or not be the case and depends largely on the employer.

It's important to know that furloughed employees are prohibited from doing any work on behalf of their employer. They cannot take phone calls, answer emails or even have contact with clients/customers.

What are the advantages?

No one wants to be out of work, but furloughs can be beneficial in the long run. They can

  • Help avoid permanent layoffs
  • Allow more time for planning
  • Reduce rehiring needs
  • Save compensation package expenses

I've been furloughed, what are my rights?

If you have been furloughed, you have the right to seek new employment. You may consider finding temporary work, just be sure to check your employer's rules about outside employment or second jobs.

Usually, furloughed workers are eligible to receive unemployment benefits for the time without pay. Each state has its own rules for collecting unemployment, so be sure to visit your local government's website for details.

Unemployment insurance varies from state to state and will depend on where you live and work. Some states may allow furloughed workers to collect unemployment, while others may not. However, as you may know, Congress recently passed the Coronavirus stimulus package which has temporarily resolved this issue on a wider scale extending benefits to those who may not be eligible at the state level, given their unemployment is connected to the coronavirus outbreak. Furloughed employees qualify, as do part-time workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and the self-employed.

It's a tough time, but YOU ARE TOUGHER!

Be sure to follow the #motivation, #unemployment and #Coronavirus topics here on Jobcase to keep you informed and inspired!

Have questions?

Let us know!

We are here for you.

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Richard Taylor
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Thanks for the motivation speech

28w
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Robert Steiner
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I’m receiving unemployment benefit, do I have to report the stimulus check to the unemployment office ?

27w
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Naomi Hardin
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I was put on furlough for my job, and they have offered to pay me back pay for all the time i missed, i also received unemployment, and now im wondering if i will have to pay back unemployment. I had no idea my employer was going to offer back pay, or i wouldn't have filed.

27w
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Marsha Weiss
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Unemployment has approved my claim sent e Debit card where my payments go directly. However still haven’t received payment yet.Unable to get any explanation??

26w
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Gloria Mielke
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Thanks-

24w
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Shelly
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I was called and terminated instead of brought back from furlough. Is that legal. They did really give me a reason except my position was no longer needed. But just vhf the next day there was an ad on a job site for my position. Is this legal?

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Judi Chambers
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Valuable information, THANK YOU!! Puts my mind at ease, clears up alot of woes. The pep talk is much appreciated because staying positive 100% during these times can sometimes be quite difficult!. Taking things one day at a time sweet Jesus. Built God STRONG!!!

17w
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