What does furlough mean?

Furlough is a temporary leave of absence that is granted to an employee because of the special circumstances of an organisation. It is an unpaid leave of absence. Furloughed employees usually retain their jobs, but furlough does not entail compensating the staff, nor does end employment.  

Difference between furlough and layoff

Furloughs and layoffs may appear the same, but the needs and effects of these may be very different.  

Furlough is intended for a temporary arrangement. Whereas, layoff is a permanent end of one's employment, including pay and benefits. When you are furloughed, the door is open for your return. This is very rarely the case when employees are laid off.  

When an employee is furloughed, the employee is assumed to resume his normal schedule at long last. During the furlough, the hours of the employee can be significantly reduced or an unpaid absence is necessary.  

A layoff is essentially simply an end, often because of inadequacy of work. When a worker undergoes lay off, his connections with the organisations end. Permanent lay off can be caused by economic disruption or financial struggle. Temporary layoffs in some industries (e.g. the coronavirus pandemic).

How does furlough in workplace take place?

Often furloughs occur when a business does not have enough money or not enough work for its employees to make payrolls (e.g., during an emergency) (e.g., during a partial organisation shutdown). During a session, an employee maintains its relationship with the company and expects to revert to his normal working schedule. A complete furlough is when a company obliges employees to work for fewer hours or to take longer unpaid leave. A furlough is when staff must take an unpaid leave or reduce their working hours temporarily.

Also read : 10 ways to handle employee termination effectively

Companies may be subject to temporary economic pressures which mean they must for now reduce their payroll. In such cases it can make sense for furloughing people — particularly if the company envisages better business conditions on the horizon to enable it to staff again in the near future (and bring back experienced, already trained employees from furlough to take up those jobs). David Cote, who ran Honeywell in the Great Recession said he could reclaim his company much more quickly, when the crisis was over, rather than lay off employees.

Benefits of furloughing employees

In times like COVID, when many industries are almost at a standstill, companies are able to cut staffing costs while side-lining layoffs, and are especially helpful.  

The great advantage of furloughs for staff is that it has a job to go back to, while business must not undergo the painful and costly re-hiring and formation of new workers and lose talent for years to cultivate. Depending on the situation, retired workers can continue to use their benefits coverage and also collect unemployment insurance to reduce hours, Dalal said. Companies often use to furlough their workers to cut costs in times of need.

Disadvantages of furloughed employees

Risk of losing valuable employees  

The best performers around you are most likely to find new jobs while you're still in business. Even if it is only a week or two before the start, employees will probably use this time to update their curriculum vitae and search for a job. If not, employee has returned some employees will have to be recruited and trained in different positions.

Also read : How to ace employee retention

Loss of productivity

When employees come back to work, productivity and efficiency may be impaired. Furloughed employees may need some time to back to work and run on the previous levels of productivity. The need for employees to re-enter their routines with equal productivity becomes a potential setback.  

Lowered employee morale

Reduced staffing and working hours will lead to obstructed networks of customer support, longer delivery times and a lack of customer morality. If a breakthrough is unexpected, staff can become insecure about the company's future. Staff will be more stressful; gossip and rumours will increase and productivity will fall.

Lastly, the consequences of furloughs may be adverse for employee benefits. The insurer may specify the number of hours that an employee must work to be eligible for the coverage if you have an employer-sponsored health care. Staff who fell below this level because of the decrease in hours can be taken from their coverage unexpectedly. It is clever to satisfy your insurance broker so that you can inform you when developing your plans.

How long can an employee furlough last?

Furloughs may last up to six months before a company must decide whether or not an employee return. This means that the economic exposure is likely to remain as long as this furlough lasts. There is also the threat that employees will not be called back to work post-crisis and the prospects that were available mid-crisis will be failed to notice.

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