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What is the difference between being laid off, furloughed, and fired?

Everyday we see new headlines and articles on companies laying off large percentages of their workforce or furloughing their employees. What does this actually mean for the employees? We’ve broken down the most common definitions for employer initiated work separation. 

Laid Off Meaning

When an employee is laid off it means they are no longer working due to conditions outside of their control. This could be caused by a number of factors, including there is no work available, the company is downsizing, or the business is closing. Getting laid off has nothing to do with an employee’s performance or abilities. If you’ve been laid off, we’ve put together 7 immediate steps you should take to move forward and best position yourself for success. 

Furlough Meaning

If an employee is furloughed it means they are mandated to take a temporary leave of absence from work. During this time, the employee will not be paid but often will continue to receive employer-sponsored health insurance. Furloughed workers can and should apply for unemployment, even though they are still technically employed, in order to receive income. Once the employer decides to reopen, the furloughed employees can return to their jobs. 

Fired Meaning

An employee is fired when their performance and/or abilities are not a match for their current role or company. There are a number of reasons an employee could be fired but three of the most common reasons are: not meeting the performance requirements, coming in late to work repeatedly, and inappropriate or criminal behavior inside or outside of the office. 

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