Furlough vs. Layoff

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Most Common Employment Law Issues:

What are Furloughs and Layoffs?

According to employment laws, a “furlough” maybe defined as any temporary time period in which an employee is not paid.  This can sometimes be for a set period of time, such as a portion of a week, or for several weeks.  Some companies and many government agencies may designate “furlough” days once a month (every 3rd Tuesday, etc. of the month). Furlough periods are usually implemented in efforts to cut down on expenditures.  

In comparison, a layoff essentially terminates the employment arrangement for the worker.  They usually can’t resume working with the company or agency unless they go through the hiring process again.  The term “layoff” or “lay off” is usually associated with a large number of employees being terminated, especially during company downsizing.

What are Some Differences With Furlough vs. Layoffs?

As mentioned, one of the main characteristics of furlough is that the employee is still hired with the company, and can resume working after the furlough period is completed.  Also, in some instances, the employee may even be collecting benefits during the time that a furlough is happening (though this may depend on each individual company policy).

In contrast, an employee who’s been laid off can’t return to work in the same way as after a furlough.  They will no longer be accruing benefits, although they may be offered a severance package upon their termination.  Layoffs can sometimes be temporary, meaning that the company may re-enlist or re-hire the worker(s) after some period of time.

What if I Have a Dispute Over a Furlough or Layoff?

Furlough and layoff differences can also have major impacts on legal claims.  For instance, most furlough lawsuits have to do with disputes over wages and hours, or over employee benefits.  Layoff lawsuits typically involve legal issues over wrongful termination, retirement, and other related issues.

If you have a dispute over furlough or layoffs, you may need to file with your company’s human resources department.  If the dispute is still not resolved, you may need to file with a government agency, or you may need to file a lawsuit in court.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Furlough or Layoff Issues?  

Issues like furlough and layoffs often form the subject of many legal claims and lawsuits.  You may need to hire a qualified employment lawyer in your area if you need help with a legal issue.  Your attorney will be able to provide you with practical legal advice, and will be able to represent you during any court hearings or meetings. 

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Last Modified: 05-06-2013 04:10 PM PDT

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