What’s the Difference between…
FURLOUGHS AND LAYOFFS?
As the coronavirus wracks the economy, jobless claims are hitting record numbers; 10 million Americans lost their jobs in the last two weeks of March. But what’s the difference between getting furloughed and laid off? And in the what do those all mean now, in the midst of a pandemic? Let’s get into it.
A furlough is a forced, unpaid leave of absence, though the worker technically remains an employee of the company. It’s meant to be a temporary arrangement; the goal is for the person to at some point return to their job. Some furloughed workers may still have access to benefits like healthcare coverage, but that’s at the discretion of the company.
With a layoff, a worker’s employment is officially terminated. But unlike getting fired, layoffs are no-fault situations and usually a marker of an internal issue at a company, such as down-sizing or restructuring. They often come with severance, if the employee waives the right to any legal action relating to the termination.
In normal times, whether you’re furloughed or laid off, you’re likely eligible for unemployment — though the details depend on the state. However, the recently passed $2 trillion stimulus package extended unemployment benefits to those not qualified at the state level, so long as the job loss is connected to the coronavirus outbreak. Part-time employees, freelancers, independent contractors, and those that are self-employed are also eligible.
For more information on unemployment benefits during the coronavirus crisis, check out this article.
About The Author
What’s the Difference is a newsletter created by Brette Warshaw, a consultant and writer living in New York City. She has worked with companies such as RAMONA, OpenTable, LIVELY, Food52, and Open Society, and she was the Chief Operating Officer of the late cult food magazine Lucky Peach. She studied history and creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania, and wrote her thesis on Jell-O marketing in the Great Depression. In her spare time, she enjoys throwing dinner parties and organizing her pantry.