The Specifics of Employee Furloughs

The current economic crisis has caused employers to try a number of different things in an attempt to save their companies from going out of business. Some tactics are perfectly legal, while others are questionable or outright illegal. One method that has become increasingly popular is furloughing employees rather than laying them off.

A furlough is when an employer places an employee into temporary non-duty, non-pay status. This is usually done because of budgetary issues, lack of work or other non-disciplinary reasons. Furloughs can also be voluntary or mandatory. Many employers are now choosing to furlough employees rather than lay them off because they do not want to lose any more valuable workers but are still worried about the company’s bottom line.

Facts About Furloughs

If you have been furloughed by your employer, it is important that you understand certain basics about furloughs, including the following:

  • Employees generally have scheduled time off or call back rights and expectations
  • Employees with a contract must have their contract renegotiated after the furlough-this includes union represented employees
  • Most negotiations concerning employee furloughs include a call-back date
  • Benefits usually continue during employee furloughs-this is one of main benefits of furloughs for the employee, even though they are not receiving a pay check

Salaried employees are generally not given furloughs because it would typically be illegal for an employer to not pay a salaried employee for a period of time. An exception to this would be if a salaried employee was told not to work for the entire work week and the employee does not perform any work-related tasks.

Employment Law