MN - Furloughed Bi-weekly pay but still have hours
April 7, 2020 11:15 AM   Subscribe

I don't understand how furloughing works and my company is directing me to the state and the state is directing me to my company. Does anyone know how this works?

I just received notification (like a few hours ago) that beginning Monday, we (IT for a hospital's clinical system - go figure) will be furloughed. I get paid bi-weekly at the normal 80 hours and my company is directing me to the state to figure out how it works with unemployment while the state is redirecting me to my company. The kicker of all this is we're not going to 0 hour work weeks, in fact, they don't know how many hours we'll get but we're pretty much on 24 hour notifications. They also said they will try to do rotating work weeks where 1 week XYZ are furloughed while ABC are furloughed week 2.

I just don't know how to make sense of this and alot of what I'm reading about is regarding 0 hour work weeks. Does anyone have any idea how this works?
posted by lpcxa0 to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Apply for unemployment.

From here:

"You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if:

You have temporarily or permanently lost your job or had your hours reduced because of COVID-19."

" I’m still working, should I apply for unemployment benefits?
If you are working but your hours have been reduced, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits, you should apply. When you request a payment each week you will report the amount of wages you are being paid. We will calculate your payment. If you are working full-time (or being paid your full-time wages by your employer to stay home) you are not considered unemployed and would not be eligible for benefits. If your situation changes, apply for benefits and we will notify you if you are eligible."

Most likely whoever you were talking to was not properly informed, or possibly you may have shared extraneous information that only confused them.

(I have been running webinars on unemployment in my state. While your state may be different, their website indicates they are quite similar to mine. IANAL and TINLA. The unemployment expert I've been hosting says often people share too much information, like "well they said they'd hire me back when they can so then I guess I'm not actually unemployed?" Just apply.)
posted by MonsieurBon at 11:30 AM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Does it matter if I'm salaried or hourly (I'm salaried)? The reason I ask if if I'm reading the FLSA correctly if my pay is required to be the same regardless of the hours I work so for example, if I work 1 hour or 40, I'm required to get the same amount of pay otherwise I transition to an hourly employee.
posted by lpcxa0 at 11:37 AM on April 7, 2020

In broad terms, you likely qualify for unemployment to recoup any missing salary. The following is super rough and a little bit of YMMV, but basically how it works is:

Unemployment pays a percentage of lost wages, up to a maximum amount. This varies by state but a quick googling shows me 50% up to $640/week in MN.

If your normal salary is $1000 per week, but instead because of COVID you get 0, you are entitled to $500 in unemployment benefits
If your normal salary is $1000 per week, but they call you in for one shift and you get $200, then you are still entitled to ($1000-$200)*.5 = $400 of unemployment benefits.
If your normal salary is $2000 per week, but instead because of COVID you get 0, you are entitled to the maximum benefit of $640 per week.

If you are furloughed instead of laid off or they might rehire you or they might not - it's irrelevant to what you deserve from unemployment.

Some of these rules might change a little bit because of everything that's happening right now, but it doesn't matter in broad terms.

If you are not sure - just apply and be honest with your situation. It is not your responsibility to figure out the details first. That's what the state does. Apply today.
posted by brainmouse at 11:39 AM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

That salaried question is a very different question (and not really related to) the unemployment question. Is your hospital public or private? Public institutions have exempted themselves from a lot of these rules. If private, then yes, they need to convert you to hourly for any weeks that they intend to pay you more than 0 but less than full time. There's no issue in doing that (companies are always allowed to pay people hourly, it's the other way that's iffy). If they are alternating furlough weeks they don't need to do that.
posted by brainmouse at 11:45 AM on April 7, 2020

If your salary will continue to be paid at 100% i dont see why your employer would direct you to the state as you wouldnt be eligible bc you have not lost income. As others have said if they plan to reduce your salary say in anticipation of reducing your utilization, then you could be eligible for benefits to make up for some of the lost income.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:38 PM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

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