Does a work furlough constitute a defacto termination?

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Does a work furlough constitute a defacto termination?

Employment agreement indicates that I must repay move expenses if I leave within 2 years. If I am terminated, I do not have to repay the move expenses.

Asked on June 18, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Not if the furlough is just that--a furlough, from which you return. If you are brought back after a furlough, then it's not a termination. Note that this only applies if it's a "real" furlough--i.e. you ar furloughed for, say a week to a month. If you're furloughed for more than that, so that you're out of work for an extended period, or if there is any doubt as to whether you will return, you could make a case that it is de facto termination, though be prepared for your company to fight you on it. In determining what is a reasonable length of time to be furloughed, look to your industry--are furloughs common, and if so, how long do they usually last? If furloughs are not common in your industry, look to your area or state--if companies are furloughing because of a bad economy, how long are those furloughs generally? Again, a short or reasonable furlough *is* a furlough, a long one or one that goes well past industry norms may be de facto termination, since companies can't expect you to simply no work indefinitely.


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