I was furloughed back in March, with no mention if I would return to my old position or something different. I didn’t apply for unemployment until recently because I never expected to be out this long. When I contacted my employer to get copies of my pay stubs, I was shocked to hear that a part-timer has been given my position. Do I have any rights? Am I still furloughed or has my employment been terminated?
When you are furloughed, there is the expectation that you will come back to a job, though not necessarily the job you had. While you usually don’t receive pay during a furlough, most companies keep benefits coverage in effect. When you are terminated, obviously there is no expectation of returning. Most companies provide some transition benefits, like severance pay and career services, and you are entitled to continue your benefits through COBRA. If someone else is doing your job and the firm isn’t bringing you back in another role, it sounds like your employment was terminated and you should receive whatever the company usually provides. If the furlough was a pretext for getting you out of your job to give to someone else, and what claim you may have as a result, is best discussed with a lawyer.
I’ve noticed that companies seem to be hiring employees with way less experience for roles that would normally require about eight to 10 years of solid experience. Is this a trend? I’m on the job hunt and not sure what to make of it.
Given the financial decline many companies have experienced as a result of COVID-19, many firms are trying to reduce costs. People who have more experience command more compensation therefore some companies may be relaxing their requirements. If this is a trend (and I have my doubts) there isn’t anything you can do, since you can’t change your work history. The best bet is to make it known that your compensation requirements are flexible, without committing to a firm figure. For job seekers, the idea is to first get them hooked on you and then discuss compensation. I have rarely seen a company not find flexibility when they find the one they want to hire.
Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. E-mail your questions to GoToGreg@NYPost.com. Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com, dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work.