Coronavirus Impact: As more workers are furloughed, what are your rights if it happens to you?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The novel coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on workers across the U.S. Some of you may be wondering what the difference is between a furloughed worker and a laid-off one. Neither of course is good, but given a choice, most workers would prefer to be furloughed.

Macy's is just one of many companies that have furloughed their workers. Marriott is furloughing tens of thousands of employees as guests cancel their reservations in droves. So have casinos. Many airlines have done the same while canceling many flights.

The good news is that furloughed workers will have a job when the shutdown is over. That's not the case if you're laid off.

Those furloughed are also free to seek a new permanent job or even a temporary job unless the employer prohibits outside work.

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You're also eligible to apply for unemployment insurance.

"If you lost your job or your hours are reduced through no fault of your own, and that's certainly happening with a lot of people in this particular situation, you could be eligible for benefits," said Loree Levy, spokeswoman for the State Employment Development Department.

Furloughed workers also retain any benefits they had before being furloughed.

You're banned from doing any work while on furlough, including answering emails or taking phone calls. Furloughed employees must be paid for time worked. Salaried employees are entitled to an entire full day's pay.

Unfortunately, if you work for a company which continues to pay you even while it is shut down, you could still end up being furloughed before the end of this shutdown.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

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