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Answers For The Workplace E-Memo

Putting People in a Career Break

The idea of putting people on Career Breaks, or Professional Furloughs, has been a practice with some companies in the U.S. and Europe. But it appears that the size of the company and how the company handles the process makes all the difference in whether or not the practice is successful.

Here’s how it works: Instead of letting go of a valuable worker when times are slow, companies offer some employees a “career break.” Usually a person on such a furlough continues to be on the company payroll, albeit for a reduced amount. When that person is needed again, they simply resume their former position at full pay.

The benefits add up: The company rehires a known quantity, and it’s usually cheaper than going through the whole unemployment procedure and paying all the recruiting/screening/hiring costs.

On the down side, larger companies who have fudged with the system after enacting it have received bad press. Another down side is that restless or ambitious workers may go out and find another job with their idle time.

But, the practice can apply in some situations, and it’s certainly something for businesses to consider if the need arises.

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