What is meant by furlough during ongoing coronavirus crisis, difference in being furloughed and being laid off

What is meaning of furlough

indica News Bureau

Monday brought some more bad news for scores of American workers. The companies continue to lay off or furlough workers due to the economic decline due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Macy’s made a big announcement saying that it will be furloughing most of its employees, it is to be noted that it employs more than 130,000 persons. The department store giant says that it lost the majority of business after closing its department stores on 18th of March. Online sales from the company is continuing. 

What is the number of unemployed people expected in the US because of the coronavirus pandemic:

According to reliable estimates, 47 million people are expected to be unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There are many companies in the US apart from Macy’s which are furloughing their employees to tackle the economic slowdown as a result of the ongoing crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gap Inc. announced a few days back that it is furloughing many of its employees in the US and Canada to come to terms with the decline in sales due to the pandemic. The company said in a statement that though it will pause the monthly pay but will continue to offer all the benefits which are applicable to their employees. They will resume the pay once the stores reopen. Apart from these two major companies, other notable examples are General Electric, Marriott, Everlane and the Cheesecake Factory who are resorting furloughing to deal with their steep decline in their sales.

What is the meaning of furlough?

To define Furlough, it simply means unpaid leave of absence. Technically, the employees remain in the job but they are not paid their regular salaries, however they continue to get any applicable benefits because of their continued association with the company. 

Furlough is temporary in nature and the employees are able to return to their jobs once the things get normal. 

What is the difference between being furloughed and laid off?

Being laid off is quite opposite to furlough. The door is permanently closed when an employee is laid off, however in case of furlough, the door remains open and the entry is allowed once things get back 

Companies do not pay their employees during furlough periods. However, as said above the employees continue to gain other benefits like health benefits during the period of furlough. However, it is advisable that the employees check with their companies as to what they will keep on earning during the furlough period.

Furloughed employees will remain eligible for $600 weekly payment for unemployed workers.

How long is the period of furlough? 

This depends on company rules as well as the level of crisis. In the case of coronavirus, it is likely that the time of furlough will remain till the company reopens or gets back on track in terms of revenue.