California employers who want to retain their employees but don’t have an adequate supply of work for them to do may opt for putting them on furlough. This term is commonly confused with the term ‘lay off,’ and many employees don’t understand how payment works. By understanding the differences between a furlough and a layoff, one can better understand how they will be paid.
Furlough vs. lay off
Employers who are in need of reducing workload or their workforce may opt to utilize a furlough or lay off. Under a layoff, employers are temporarily or permanently discharged from their employment position. They do not receive a paycheck during the layoff. Each lay-off is given a specified time period in which the employee’s company benefits will be terminated.
If the employer chooses to bring the laid-off employee back to work, they must go through a rehiring process. Furloughed employees, on the other hand, do not have to go through this rehire process. They can come and go as needed by their employer. Furloughed employees also retain all of their employer benefits.
How are furloughed employees paid?
One of the biggest culprits for wage disputes is the proper paying of furloughed employees. Many employers get confused about how and when they’re supposed to pay these employees. The law states that these employees may be asked to perform work during their furlough. When this happens, they are entitled to pay. Non-exempt employees are entitled to pay equal to that of the hours that they worked. Exempt employees will receive an entire week’s pay for any work performed.
The terms furlough and lay off tend to be used interchangeably even though they refer to two different types of employee statuses. Once you determine your appropriate status, you could determine what pay you’re entitled to, if any.