Collect unemployment during furloughs in Minnesota?

Q. As a labor cost-cutting measure we are scheduling employees for three weeks on and one week off. We expect to keep this schedule indefinitely. Can employees collect unemployment for the one week they are off?

A. Assuming that the change in work schedules will cause your employees to lose a quarter of their income, it is likely that after a certain waiting period has expired the furloughed employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits. The fact that they will remain employed shouldn’t affect their right to collect benefits as long as they meet other qualifying criteria.

You may want to contact the Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development to inquire about any programs in place to help employers and employees in these kinds of situations.

Shirley Lerner and Kerry Middleton advise clients out of Littler Mendelson’s Minneapolis office.