Furlough days are a cost-saving measure used by employers to save money or recapture resources when a budget has been exceeded. Furlough days are a difficult subject for both the employer and employees. If your employer is broaching the subject of furlough days or if furlough days are going to be implemented, there are several factors you should be aware of.
- What is the goal or purpose? Employers cannot afford to close their doors permanently. Therefore, furlough days are usually implemented by reducing the workforce. Your employer's management team will usually assess their key functions and determine which staff are absolutely necessary to carry out these functions. They may classify the employees as essential or non-essential in order to organize who will continue to work and who will be on furlough. Furlough days are designed to be a temporary solution in order to provide an opportunity for your employer to get a better handle on their resources. The length of furlough days can vary between several days here and there to periods of a week or more, but it is key to remember that it will not be forever.
- What are the implications? In addition to how furlough days affect the day-to-day operations of your employer, the primary interest point about furlough days is the fact that, in most cases, you will not be paid during the time the furlough is implemented. From an administrative standpoint, some employers process them as unpaid holidays or vacation days. Some employers are able to retroactively pay employees for the days they were on furlough. However, it is not a guarantee.
- Is there anything I can do to make this easier? If your employer has begun to communicate about a possibility of furlough, you should take a proactive approach by assessing your personal finances. Not receiving compensation, even for a day, will have an effect on your income and financial situation. You can start by eliminating unnecessary expenses and saving where you can. In addition, it may be necessary for you to contact your creditors and let them know. Some creditors can grant an extension or offer a reprieve for a specific period of time. Work with your human resources department to identify what solutions exist. Some employers will allow you to take vacation time as a source of compensation.