Economics/Class Relations

What Is a Furlough and What Are Employee Rights During One?

By Eric Reed

The Street

While some are able to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, other people simply don’t have jobs that allow for that.

Many people are in industries that are still working. However, the economic impact of the pandemic has wreaked havoc on many of these industries. And other industries are being forced into temporarily closing to better contain the spread of coronavirus.

What happens to employees in these industries? Some may be laid off, some may still have to work and continue exposure to the virus. But some companies may instead suspend the work of most of their employees, sending them home without pay in what’s called a furlough.

Furloughs have already begun in particularly vulnerable industries. The airline industry has been in freefall as demand has shrunk; Virgin Atlantic has required employees to take eight weeks of unpaid furlough. As many hotel chains close to help contain the spread of coronavirus, Marriott has begun furloughing what could become tens of thousands of employees.

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