So, what is a furlough and why is it the word of the week in my office? According to wikipedia,
“A furlough is a temporary leave of absence from employment, duty in the armed services, or from a prison term. It may be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary furloughs from employment or armed services are essentially a vacation… Involuntary furloughs from employment may be mandated by employers. A furlough can also refer to time off based on a company-planned schedule. For example, with a “work 3 weeks, off 1 week” schedule, a company’s workforce is divided into 4 groups. Each group, in turn, takes a week off on furlough while the remainder work). In other cases, a furlough is more like a temporary layoff, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole. These involuntary furloughs may be short or long term, and many of those affected may seek other temporary employment during that time.”
Our company, being directly affected by the recession in the US, has implemented a furlough, or what we also call “forced leave without pay”.
Unexpectedly, people in the office were happy about it. Only a few had doubts. Another testament that Filipinos are indeed happy people, and to an extent a happy-go-lucky one.
Well, I say this move is better than laying off employees. Just like how the CEO put it, “Shared sacrifice is preferable to a significant layoff.” But still, there is no guarantee. Down the road, we don’t know what will happen. As what Heidi Klum says in Project Runaway: “One day you’re in, next day you’re out”