Although unemployment insurance benefits are common perceived as a stopgap measure to be used after a layoff or other loss of employment, the Maryland’s Division of Unemployment Insurance also extends benefits to workers who temporarily become unemployed because of a furlough. Furloughed employees – also known as those subject to recall or temporarily unemployed – may receive benefits for all lost hours if they work in the state of Maryland.
Temporary Unemployment Benefits
With many private and public businesses using furloughs as a means to manage payroll budgets, many Maryland workers may qualify for short-term unemployment benefits. Employees who are placed on furlough – be it for payroll issues, weather-related work slowdowns or any other means – qualify to receive unemployment compensation for the hours they lost. Unemployment benefits extend only to lost hours, however, so a full-time employee who placed on a four-day schedule may only receive compensation for hours he previously worked on the fifth day of his workweek.
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How to Apply
Furloughed workers must file an initial claim as an unemployed worker to request unemployment benefits. The Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance grants benefits based upon the day beneficiaries file their initial claim, so furloughed employees should file for claims as soon as their furlough begins to expedite the payment process. Applicants may make an initial claim through the division’s claims website, or by calling the branch that represents your part of the state weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Beneficiaries must provide basic personal information in addition to information about each employer they worked for during the previous 18 months, so collect documentation before beginning the application process.
Work Search Exemptions
Most unemployed workers in Maryland must meet work search requirements in order to qualify for benefits, but furloughed workers may be exempt from the requirement if their furlough is less than 10 weeks long and their employer has provided a definite return date. Beneficiaries who file their initial claim will be told by their caseworker if they qualify as a furloughed or attached worker and do not need to meet work-search requirements. Furloughed workers who don’t earn a work-search exemption must make two contacts each week in search of full-time employment.
Employer Verification of Furloughed Status
Beneficiaries’ furloughed status must be confirmed by their former employer in order to receive work-search exemptions. Employers must provide information on a request for separation information the division issues after employees make their claim. Employers who furlough workers temporarily must select “Temporary layoff/Temporary reduction of hours” on the form. The temporary layoff must be for a finite amount of time with a fixed return-to-work date if making this selection.
Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.