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What Is a Furlough?

Definition: Furlough

There are many types of leave defined as furloughs, but recently the term has been in the news referring to forced, unpaid hiatuses for salaried workers. Traditionally, these short-term periods of unpaid days off were limited to industries like construction that have sharp seasonal business changes. However, The Wall Street Journal reports that furloughs are now being utilized by state governments and universities, publishing and technology companies, and the arts and entertainment industry.

Employers struggling with budget issues use furloughs to buy time — it allows them to maintain a talented staff in hopes that they'll be needed when business picks up, but saves money in the meantime. For example, the State of California instituted furlough days for state employees that forced workers to stay home two Fridays every month.


Join The Conversation
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
My office has done this in the past. It resulted in many angry customers.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
This is actually the strategy that my husband's company is using to prevent having to lay people off. Every exempt employee is required to take two extra week of furlough per year until the economic situation improves somewhat. It's a lot better than being laid off, that's for sure.
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
Just heard yesterday that yhe city that I work for is probably going to use furloughs to make ends meet this FY. I am a little bummed about it.
honeycreepshow honeycreepshow 8 years
haahha all i see when i see the word furlough is furlbog... i play WoW too much!
alikat07 alikat07 8 years
My dad works for the California government and has two furloughs a month... the ironic thing is his salary is paid by the Federal government so it is resulting in work not getting done, not a savings for the state.
Deidre Deidre 8 years
I'll be going on furlough for my wedding in 2 months!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
I use to work for a junior college system and they would furlough their employees throughout the year to save money on the budget just to lay off people at the end of the fiscal year.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Better than being laid off altogether.
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