Thinking about furloughing rather than laying off your employees? It’s an all-too-common conundrum right now, amidst the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. But, it’s something that a large majority of businesses must consider, given the present and quite uncertain circumstances. Read on to learn more about the upsides and downsides of furloughing your employees.
Employee Furlough Disadvantages
We’ll begin with the most problematic cons of furloughing team members. Doing so puts your company at-risk for permanently losing your top talent. Furloughs also undermine employee morale and may even damage it further, and if you have applied for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, one of the conditions for the loan to be forgiven, is that you keep your employees on your payroll.
An employee furlough is a mandatory suspension from work without pay. It can be as brief or as long as the employer wants. Furloughs can take place in both public and private institutions. An organization will furlough employees as a cost-saving measure when it doesn’t want to lay off staff but lacks the resources to continue paying them. —The Street.com
Then, there’s the trouble of re-opening your business. Even after a short-term period, it takes a substantial amount of time to get things back up and running. Additionally, the cost savings might not be as significant as you might believe because it’s for a short time frame and not necessarily long enough to be worthwhile (though it can certainly prove helpful).
Employee Furlough Advantages
Since furloughs are happening in many industries right now, the temporary change can’t be all bad. There are advantages to furloughing employees, like the following:
- Avoids layoffs. The most obvious upside to going with furloughs instead of laying people off is that you avoid the latter. In other words, you aren’t terminating team members. Instead, you’re temporarily removing them from the business without pay.
- Reduces rehiring. Another benefit of furloughs is the fact that you won’t have to go through the trouble of rebuilding your workforce from scratch. Rather, you can just reassemble your team, either one-by-one or in small groups.
- Saves compensation costs. Of course, when you furlough employees, you don’t pay their wages or salaries. Since labor is most typically the largest business expense, this can really help your company financially. (Though, you may still opt to furnish them with benefits during their furlough period.)
- It allows you to better plan. Yet another benefit of furloughing instead of firing employees is that you can formulate a more workable plan during that time. The longer it goes on, the better grasp you’ll have of what to keep and what to jettison. To put it another way, you can use the opportunity to streamline things in order to make your business more productive and more profitable.
What other business pros and cons of furloughs would include? Please comment and share your thoughts and experiences!
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