Furloughs vs. layoffs: Which method is best for long-term success?

John Spink / jspink@ajc.com

John Spink / jspink@ajc.com

Many companies are asking workers to take furloughs in order to reduce costs and avoid layoffs. But are furloughs the best way to go, or do they end up still lowering morale and merely delay inevitable job cuts?

Of course, between being laid off and taking a furlough, most people would probably choose the latter. But being forced to work less hours or take a week or two weeks off unpaid can still hurt workplace morale, not to mention your paycheck. Atlanta’s firefighters are a good example of how furloughs have hurt not only morale, but also have impacted emergency response times, which could put citizens at greater risk. Also, there are some experts that feel companies who attempt to reduce costs temporarily with furloughs are only putting off the inevitable round of layoffs, as the economy is not expected to make a quick recovery.

Have you had to take a furlough recently from your job? How did you spend your time? Do you think it’s better for management to implement layoffs that impact a smaller number of workers or is it better to enforce mandatory furloughs on all staff in order to reduce costs?

2 comments Add your comment


April 13th, 2009
2:34 pm

I think paycuts would be the best for long term success. That way the employer is spending less money but still enjoying the same quality of labor. No one is going to quit in this economy. Admit it, you’d still show up to work if they cut your pay 15%.


April 15th, 2009
9:14 am

Agreed – paycuts are probably best for long-term success if the industry or business needs to do this. It is unfortunate, but neccessary in these times.