Exclusively Employment Law

Have You Been Placed on Furlough?

by | May 2, 2020 | COVID-19

Many employers have placed their employees on furlough in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A furlough is essentially an employer-initiated unpaid leave of absence with the expectation that the employee will return to work in the future. Here are 6 things that you should know if you have been placed on a furlough:

1. Furloughed employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits. In fact, furloughed employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits even if they continue to receive health insurance from their employer during the furlough period.

2. Do employees receive health insurance while on furlough? The answer typically depends on the terms of the employer’s health benefit plan and the underlying insurance policy. If an employee does not receive health insurance during the furlough period, the employer likely must provide notice to the employee of his/her rights under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (“COBRA”). COBRA is a health insurance program that allows eligible employees and their dependents to receive continued health insurance benefits when an employee is terminated or his/her hours or reduced.

3. While on furlough, an employer may not require an employee to perform any work (including checking email or voicemail or answering calls). If an employee performs any work, the employer must pay the employee for the work performed.

4. For exempt employees, this means that they typically must be paid their weekly base salary if they perform any work during a work week while on furlough. Thus, if an exempt employee is furloughed during the middle of a work week, his/her employer must pay the exempt employee for the entire work week.

5. Employers must pay a nonexempt employee reporting time pay if he/she reports to work – but (a) is not put to work or (b) is put to work for less than half of the amount of time that he/she was supposed to work that day. Click here to read about reporting time pay under California law.

6. Furloughed employees likely will not continue to accrue vacation, paid time-off, and paid sick leave during the furlough period – unless their employment agreement or collective bargaining agreement or the employer’s policies state otherwise.

If you have questions about furloughs, call ((916) 612-0326) or email ([email protected]) Finley Employment Law today. We serve clients throughout California, including Sacramento, Roseville, Davis, Folsom, and Elk Grove.

The information in this blog post is for general informational and advertising purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Instead, you should speak with a California employment attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.