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If you're furloughed, what do you do?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Shifty Squid, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Shifty Squid

    Shifty Squid Member

    Those of you who have been furloughed (or who fear you might be soon) have probably already figured out that there are decisions to make if you're forced to take one: If you're non-exempt, do you spread the days out over a long period of time or do it all in one chunk? Should/Can you apply for unemployment benefits for the furlough time?

    Your company almost certainly isn't going to give you good advice on this, so I thought it might be worthwhile for us to help each other with some of these questions. Each state has different unemployment rules, and some of you might know yours to pass along to people who are trying to figure out what to do.

    For instance, in Florida (and many other states), you can get unemployment pay during furlough, but there's a one-week waiting period. So if you have to take one week of furlough in Q2, you can go ahead and file if you take it all at once. Then, if you have to take another week in Q3, you can immediately begin getting unemployment pay for that week. But the higher-ups sent everyone an email basically saying they shouldn't apply because you can't get unemployment for just one week off. It's true but only technically, and you should probably still go ahead and file to protect yourself against future furloughs.

    I've also heard some rumors that these companies can't keep doing furloughs every quarter because it'll violate FLSA. But the Florida Employment Law Blog (http://www.flemploymentlawblog.com/2009/03/articles/wagehour/flsa/amid-tough-times-furloughs-can-save-employers-money-and-employees-jobs/) wrote this ...

    Salaries for exempt and non-exempt employees may be prospectively reduced so long as those adjustments are not so frequent as to appear designed to circumvent the requirements of the FLSA. Quarterly adjustments have been found by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to be in compliance with the FLSA. Adjustments to the predetermined amounts of salary should be implemented as infrequently as feasible so as not to raise an argument that the adjustments are a pretext to avoid compliance with the FLSA.

    So it sounds like they can keep doing these. That's why I think we might want to look out for each other. It doesn't necessarily have to be in this thread, but a furlough resource Sticky might be a good thing to have, as Gannett leads the other media lemmings off the furlough cliff. The companies aren't going to look out for us, so we should look out for each other. Be sure to protect yourself, friends. Just a thought.
  2. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    At least in my state, you can apply for unemployment, and knock down your wait time by a week. We've been having furloughs this month and I know a few people who filed, though, from what I hear, most didn't. I don't know that it matters to the state if you take it all at once or day by day; we had the option of doing either.

    FWIW, I took mine all at once and was glad I did. Much more relaxing to completely leave work behind for a full week than to squeeze five days of work into three or four days every week for a month.
    Really, it wasn't all that bad. Being forced to not work means I could do some other things ( and it helps that my wife has a good job and our expenses are fairly low). That said, I'm not looking forward to the inevitable request for a second furlough. I don't think that'll go down so smoothly.
  3. Magic In The Night

    Magic In The Night Active Member

    I'm sure lawyers on parade have done copious amounts of research into just how often they can get away with these things and what they have to do to skirt the various laws. But if it keeps up, seems like it might be worth a call to some in Congress to see about passing some laws to avoid these types of things. Might as well take advantage of a worker-friendly Congress while we can!
  4. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Absolutely nothing work-related.
  5. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    If my company decides to go with them, that's my plan.
  6. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Take it for the week you've lined up interviews for non-journalism jobs.
  7. Shifty Squid

    Shifty Squid Member

    Yeah, that's another reason I'd think you should probably do it all in one week, if you can. Gives you a full week to tell potential employers you're available for interviews, blood samples, groveling, whatever else might help you land a gig.
  8. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    And if you get that application in, then get laid off, then there's no one-week waiting period. Shitty way to have to look at it, but these are shitty, shitty times.
  9. CM Punk

    CM Punk Guest

    My company is letting individual papers do furloughs. It hasn't hit here yet, but I got some good advice from my dad, who was furloughed earlier this year (he's not in journalism): Don't believe a fucking thing the company tells you about the unemployment. For various reasons, they would rather you not file. Find out from the state. If you can apply and get a little help to get by a week without pay, do it.
  10. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Do prospective employers (if anyone is actually hiring) have people do pre-employment drug tests anymore? I did at my last three shops. Never bothered me because I wasn't smoking anything and the company paid for them. Just was curious if that was still common practice?
  11. We've got our first batch starting next month. We're waiting for our supervisors to tell us which days we're off. I believe they're going to spread it out so we're off one day per paycheck for the next five paychecks. That would definitely be easier on me.

    Unemployment rules in my state say that I have to be unemployed or partially employed for an entire week before I can apply, so it doesn't sound like an option.
  12. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Take the days as a full week. Collect unemployment.
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