Author Topic: Furlough, side gig & severance  (Read 3135 times)

JRA64

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Furlough, side gig & severance
« on: February 03, 2016, 06:38:51 PM »
I am probably going to be put on standby (furloughed) from my job very soon. If I am not called back, I will be laid off. Currently my company offers a severance package. Does anyone know if the company could deny me severance if I worked at a side gig (part time, no benefits, far less $ than what I currently earn) during the standby period?

GrowingTheGreen

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Re: Furlough, side gig & severance
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2016, 05:47:15 AM »
I don't even know how they would find out. Unless you signed some sort of non-compete, I say go for it.

JRA64

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Re: Furlough, side gig & severance
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2016, 06:56:02 AM »
That's the conclusion I've been coming to. As long as I am available to report back to work should they call me back, and as long as I don't resign, I don't think their should be a problem. It's a different type of work, so I don't think a non-compete would apply.
It would affect any unemployment I can collect. Is there is any possibility of "back-reporting" from the Unemployment agency to the company initiating the layoff or furlough? That's the only path I can see.

Axecleaver

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Re: Furlough, side gig & severance
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2016, 08:00:15 AM »
Depends on the terms of your severance. Companies that do it right give you a lump sum and let you do whatever you like afterwards. Others make you enroll in job retraining programs and promise a payment for some duration (12-26 weeks, typically, or one week per year of service). If you get a job before the retraining program ends, they cut your benefit. This is dumb because people will just line up work to start after their payments end. So, not many companies do it like this anymore.

HR should be able to field questions on this. Ask them what would happen if you got a part time job while you were on standby. Make clear that you do not have one and have not started looking, that you just want to stay busy while you wait to be called back. The answer should be, "Nothing."

Capsu78

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Re: Furlough, side gig & severance
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2016, 09:43:35 AM »
I don't think you should have a problem, but I would not want to work in anything way shape or form for a perceived competitor or customer.  If you have separation the company really doesn't have much claim to your right to work.

JRA64

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Re: Furlough, side gig & severance
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2016, 01:50:48 PM »
Depends on the terms of your severance. Companies that do it right give you a lump sum and let you do whatever you like afterwards. Others make you enroll in job retraining programs and promise a payment for some duration (12-26 weeks, typically, or one week per year of service). If you get a job before the retraining program ends, they cut your benefit. This is dumb because people will just line up work to start after their payments end. So, not many companies do it like this anymore.

HR should be able to field questions on this. Ask them what would happen if you got a part time job while you were on standby. Make clear that you do not have one and have not started looking, that you just want to stay busy while you wait to be called back. The answer should be, "Nothing."

I think the severance is lump sum, with no retraining or placement assistance available. I'm specifically thinking about the furlough or standby period, when I think I'm still employed (i.e they would verify employment) but not getting paid other than unemployment.

A friend in the know has said I should not breathe a word of another job to our HR rep, that it would be construed as a resignation, so I'm hesitant to ask outright. I have a list of questions to ask when I am placed on standby, including what my responsibilities are during this time. I know there are some rules regarding timesheets, how much time you have to report back if you are called back (because may decide to *travel*). And of course, read the fine print on any paperwork I am required to sign. If it doesn't come up, I don't think I will bring it up.

I don't think you should have a problem, but I would not want to work in anything way shape or form for a perceived competitor or customer.  If you have separation the company really doesn't have much claim to your right to work.

No, this would not involve working for a competitor or customer. I think I will ask for copies of anything I signed when I joined the company, so I'm aware of any non-compete when I do start looking for another job.

I will also stay completely behind the scenes. I've always thought it would be fun to work in a bookstore, but it could cause problems if the HR rep saw me there.

Thanks for the input!

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Furlough, side gig & severance
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2016, 06:18:32 AM »
A friend in the know has said I should not breathe a word of another job to our HR rep, that it would be construed as a resignation, so I'm hesitant to ask outright. I have a list of questions to ask when I am placed on standby, including what my responsibilities are during this time. I know there are some rules regarding timesheets, how much time you have to report back if you are called back (because may decide to *travel*). And of course, read the fine print on any paperwork I am required to sign. If it doesn't come up, I don't think I will bring it up.

Are you specifically forbidden from having a side job while you are employed full-time for this company? If you didn't have to agree to work only for them and there's not a written policy on outside work, then you are legally entitled to engage in any work that doesn't interfere with performing your FT job.

The tricky point is that when you are on standby you're supposed to be ready and available for work.  You wouldn't be on call, and they wouldn't be paying you. Therefore, your time is your own, but if they call you, you must be able to come in if you want to retain your position. Ask about the circumstances in which you could be called back. How would you be notified? How much notice would you get? 

The law typically sides with employees in situations like this. A company that is no longer paying you can't bar you from making a living. You're not under a non-compete, but even if you were, those are rarely legally enforced because of the previous point.

JRA64

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Re: Furlough, side gig & severance
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2016, 01:03:54 PM »
I would absolutely be able to return to work on little notice. I will get all details about how much notice they are required to give, and how they will contact me. I'm more worried about being able to report back to work if I decide to do some traveling. And if I were volunteering - I don't think they would care at all, as long as I can report back. I will check the paperwork I signed when I joined the company, and also carefully review anything they ask me to sign when placing me on standby (which hasn't happened yet, probably next week if nothing comes in).

And yeah, I'm not real happy about the policy of telling me I have to take standby and they don't have to pay me. If you refuse standby, they can terminate you immediately wtih no severance. You have to do at least one standby period to get the severance. I am eligible for unemployment during that time, but I'd rather be able to get on with my life than be in limbo. Because I've been frugal and have savings, I can ride through this. But it's much tougher for some of my coworkers who are sole breadwinners for their families.