Catersource is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Bringing Furloughed Employees Back to Work

You’ve placed employees on furlough and are now in the process of considering bringing them what?    Please be aware of state and local laws that may impact your furlough process.  These are general recommendations and what most small businesses need to consider as they bring employees back from furlough.  Please note our team is not providing legal guidance and recommend seeking legal counsel from a trusted employment attorney should you have specific questions needing to address.   

Join Catersource on June 24 for the Rebuild & Rise Webinar "Can Buffets Survive COVID?" Learn more and register by clicking here.

The following are items to consider when looking at bringing your employees back from a furlough situation: 
  • Rewrite job descriptions, if applicable, and any pay changes or FLSA status (exempt/non-exempt) that may need to be changed based on the new roles identified with the restructure. 

  • If/when positions reopen, ask furloughed employees to interview for the roles.  This provides a fair process for the furloughed employee to be considered and helps the company to avoid any potential discriminatory related accusations from furloughed employees.  

  • If the furloughed employee is returning to a position where there is a reduction in pay, explain the reasoning for this, whether it may be a short-term or long-term scenario, and that your goal is to get them back to the compensation they were at previously – but that at this time there are no guarantees with so many unknowns due to the pandemic. 

  • Consider writing a “hire back” policy that you will be offering positions to furloughed employees  based on skills/competencies, the employee’s performance, potential for future growth, and your overall business needs.   

  • Work with your benefits broker to potentially change the eligibility requirements for employees.  For example, if you’re only able to bring back furloughed employees on a part-time basis (20 hours/week), and your benefit eligibility per your plan allows benefits for employees working 30 hours/week or more – and you want to provide benefits for the part-time employees, you can change your eligibility requirements with your benefits broker. 

  • We’re starting to see companies bring back furloughed employees – depending on the state and reopening guidelines, of course, but for example in Texas we now can host events at 50% capacity.  As a result, the hospitality industry including hotels, event venues, restaurants, etc. are now starting to bring back some (typically not all) furloughed employees. 

  • Notify your benefits carriers as to which employees are being brought back from furlough so that it removes them from leave of absence status.  Most benefit plans provide for 90 days of furlough and then may terminate benefits at that point, and the employee would then be eligible for COBRA. 

  • Train your furloughed employees on new protocol related to Covid-19, ensuring they’re aware of how to protect themselves and follow new safety standards in your workplace. 


Kelly Simants

SHRM-SCP – Senior Human Resources Consultant, Nevada HR Team

Kelly Simants has over 20 years of experience in the Human Resources field.  Her clients comment that what sets her apart from others is her ability to drive change and move a business forward, while simultaneously taking great care of the people contributing to the business.  Her expertise lies in Training and Development, Talent Management, and Organizational Development.  Kelly's greatest strengths are her positive attitude, her results-oriented approach, and her entrepreneurial mindset.  Previously, she was the Vice President of Human Resources for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. She was also Director of HR for Starbucks, as well as working in leadership/HR Generalist roles for Accenture, WatchGuard Technologies, and...