Furloughs: The Devil’s in the Details

Source: Steve Berliner and Alison Neufeld, California Public Employee Relations, no. 196, August 2009
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Public sector employers have been hard hit by the collapse of worldwide financial markets, California’s failing economy, the state electorate’s rejection of propositions aimed at closing the budget gap, and the potential diversion of local government funds by the state. Although the country appears to have begun to emerge from the recession, a full recovery in the labor market is expected to take years.

In addition to cutting positions and seeking wage concessions, local government agencies are turning to furloughs to survive these lean times. Agencies with collectively negotiated furlough policies in their union contracts can see significant cost savings and increased flexibility in this time of uncertainty. Furloughs preserve staffing levels and allow employers to avoid the restructuring necessitated by layoffs.

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