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Furloughs are Different from Layoffs

Furloughs are Different from Layoffs

Layoffs and furloughs have been numerous because of COVID-19. For employees, there is an important difference between furloughs and layoffs.  

What is a furlough?

Furloughs are temporary reductions in wages and hours typically due to a sharp slowdown in business activity.  For example, due to a sharp slowdown in business, the company implements a two week furlough. The employee who gets furloughed for two weeks does not receive work or pay for those two weeks. 

How is a furlough different from a layoff?

Employees who get furloughed remain employees.  Remaining an employee is important for the continuation of employee benefits such as health coverage, pension, 401k, and disability benefits.  As to whether all the employee benefits continue during the furlough time period depends on the benefit plan's language.  What portion of the premium costs will remain the employer's responsibility during the furlough will also depend on the language in the health plan.  If you are an employee being furloughed you will need to contact your employer for answers on the continuation of employee benefits and who pays what portion of the costs of the health plan.  FMLA is available to furloughed employees.

What about unemployment benefits during a furlough?

Connecticut provides unemployment benefits to furloughed employees.  If an employee's furlough involves a reduction of weekly work hours (as opposed to a complete elimination of weekly work hours), then the employee will receive pro rated unemployment benefits. 


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