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Hays US Blog

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Layoffs versus Furloughs: The difference and how to find your next opportunity

3 min read | By: Hays recruitment expert on April 17th, 2020

Navigating these uncertain times has been a work in progress for many. COVID has forced many companies to make tough decisions, and one of those has been to let some members of their staff go. There are different ways to go about this, and this blog will address the difference between being laid off versus furloughed. Additionally we will provide advice on how to get the latest jobs right at your fingertips, so that you can find you next opportunity.

Layoff versus furlough

Being laid off means that you are no longer on the payroll of the company and your relationship with your employer is terminated. Whereas, if you are furloughed that means that your relationship to your employer continues, but you will not be getting paid. Essentially, a furlough is a temporary unpaid leave. Furloughs usually occur when companies have financial setbacks or as a result of temporary emergencies.


usually occur when an organization has to quickly cut costs. Since employee salary and benefits are usually the most expensive in a company’s budget, layoffs are a quick way to reduce costs. With a layoff, although the employee is removed from the payroll, the employer usually has an intent to bring back the person in the future. Although layoffs can be temporary sometimes this is not the case and they can be permanent. It is important not to confuse a lay off with a reduction in force – this is when a position in completely removed and the company doesn’t intend to fill that role again.


A reason employers may choose furloughs over layoffs is because of the extensive administrative work that comes with layoffs. Since a furlough isn’t a terminated employee, there is no payout of vacation time required by state laws. By keeping everyone on a payroll with a furlough nothing needs to change. Other than the fact that they are on an unpaid leave of absence.

A furlough can be as short or as long as the employer decides and no work is to be done by an individual on behalf of the employer during this time. A furloughed employee has the right to look for other employment during this time. This is not ideal for employers as they are at risk of losing some of their top talent. Often times employee will seek temporary jobs during a furlough to receive a source of income. It is important that employees check with their company for rules/restrictions against second jobs or outside employment. Employers are allowed to enforce these type of policies throughout a furlough.

If you are looking for your next opportunity, you’ll want to have options at your fingertips. Here are some tips to help you find the latest jobs faster using your mobile device.

  • Register and download recruitment and job searching apps: Spend half an hour researching online to find out which are the most relevant recruitment agencies, job boards and potential employers for your job search. Register your details on each of these (some may require an up-to-date resume) and download their job search apps to your phone. This will help you incorporate job searching into your daily routine, meaning you can search while you’re on the bus, having lunch or waiting in a line for your coffee.
  • Set up job alerts: Once you’re registered with the most relevant sites for you, most will allow you to set up job alerts based on targeted keywords. These can be sent via email, text, or even WhatsApp. This will take some of the pain away from dedicating time to constantly job searching. You’ll usually be able to change the time and frequency of your alerts, so you’re not rudely awoken in the middle of the night!
  • Save your resume to your device: It’s always a good idea to ensure a version of your CV is saved to your device and/or cloud storage. This will allow you to send your CV to a recruiter instantaneously if requested, and of course will allow you to more easily apply for jobs on the go.

For more advice to help you reach your career goals – click here

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