Is there a limit on how long I can be furloughed?

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Q. Is there a limit on how long a New Jersey employer can keep employees out on furlough for COVID-19? Starting in June, we are required to pay the full amount for our health insurance while on furlough, meaning both the employer and employee’s contributions.
— Waiting

A. We’re sorry to hear you’re on furlough.

Furloughs are temporary leaves of absence rather than a permanent layoff.

It’s a mandatory severance from your employment without pay that can last as long as the employer wishes but generally up to three or six months,” said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with Equitable/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

She said under this scenario you technically still are employed, and the company could maintain your benefits, but it doesn’t have to.

“There are no limits as to how long a company can furlough an employee but there is an expectation that you will return to work.” she said. “It is more likely the company will lay you off if they feel that they will not survive.”

She said employers realize that there is considerable cost in finding and training new hires.

“You can receive unemployment benefits while on furlough,” she said. “Most employers will continue benefits during the time of furlough, but if the employer is starting to pull benefits, it may mean that your furlough may become a permanent layoff.”

Email your questions to moc.p1603538902leHye1603538902noMJN1603538902@ksA1603538902.

This story was originally published on Oct. 12, 2020.

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