Dental Talent – Furlough vs Layoff – Where Does the Difference Lie?

The coronavirus pandemic has made its mark on the world, and in more ways than one. This time of crisis has taught us that although things were going quite well before the pandemic, nothing is ever set in stone. The same applies to employment circumstances. COVID-19 has made it more difficult to find stable jobs (and keep them!) because many companies continue to close down.

These closures continue to happen, affecting business owners and workers everywhere. In most cases, companies will either apply a furlough or layoff to their employees. Both terms mean that employees will cease working, but what is the difference between them?

Furlough vs Layoff: Where Does the Difference Lie?

Both these terms mean that a worker will have to stop working. However, there are key differences between the two. Here is a side-by-side comparison between them.


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Oftentimes, a furlough may also be referred to as a temporary layoff. This means that the worker will not be able to receive their wages during the time they are not working. However, the term “temporary layoff” may be confusing for some people because the word “layoff” usually means that the person will stop working permanently. This is why the term “furlough” is more appropriate, as people will still expect to be reinstated back to work at some point.


On the other hand, a layoff means that the employee will no longer be working. They will no longer be considered to be part of the company. There are many reasons for company layoffs, but the most common one lately has been the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies have suffered losses because of the lack of sales during the pandemic, and they have been forced to lay off some of their employees to cope.

Can a Furlough Eventually Lead to a Layoff?

In some cases, a furlough may eventually lead to being laid off. When this situation occurs, the employer starts by initiating a furlough. Then, while the furlough is in effect, the employer may change their mind and decide to permanently end the employment of the employee.

Receiving Your Final Pay Check

There are many different guidelines that govern how employees will be given their final paycheck. When a layoff occurs, the law mandates that a final paycheck has to be given to the employee whose employment will be coming to a permanent close.

In some cases, final pay may also be given to employees who have been under a furlough that lasts longer than legally allowable. It is important for the company to include any unused leaves in the computation for the employee’s final pay.


Many organizations and employees have felt the negative effects of the pandemic. While many companies struggle to remain open, others have decided to permanently close their doors and hang the “closed” sign up for good. Companies that decide to put their employees on a furlough or initiate a layoff should be careful about the wording they use, as the difference between these two terms is more than just semantics.

Dental Talent is a recruitment platform for dental practitioners in the UK. We aim to help people find good job opportunities, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have lost your job, contact Dental Talent. We will do our best to recommend job opportunities available near you.