At first, the idea of a “furlough” strikes many employees as cool. Instead of getting fired, they get…three-day weekends!
The reality, however, is that many furloughed employees feel like they should spend the whole day (or days) working–because their employers are so stretched that there’s just no other way to get the work done. So they work as much as they used to, and they get paid less to do it.
As furloughs become a more popular way for employers to cut costs, this is another reason why the traditional “jobs” headlines are not the best measure of the labour market. The better measure is total hours worked. And on this measure, unfortunately, the nation’s labour market is still getting worse at the same rate.
NYT: The Fun Furlough Fridays Club? It never met. Instead, Ms. Roberson has found herself working as hard as ever on most Fridays, and every other day of the week. Further, she has come to resent the very idea of a furlough more and more with each paycheck, every one 10 per cent less than it used to be, as mandated by California’s budget cutters.
And she has taken off only about half of the time to which she is entitled.
“Sometimes it’s just too busy at work,” said Ms. Roberson, whose pay was cut in February as part of the state’s effort to close a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. “You start to feel guilty.”
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