In the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
(icon; from Dutch
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...
: "verlof") is a temporary unpaid leave of some employees due to special needs of a company, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole. These involuntary furloughs may be short or long term, and many of those affected may seek other temporary employment during that time.
In the United States, involuntary furloughs concerning federal government employees may be of a sudden and immediate nature. Such was the case in February 2010, when a single Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...
objection prevented emergency funding measures from being implemented. As a result, 2000 federal workers for the Department of Transportation were immediately furloughed as of March 1, 2010. The longest such shutdown was December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996, which affected all non-essential employees, shutting down a wide array of services including National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health are an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and are the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Its science and engineering counterpart is the National Science Foundation...
, visa and passport processing, parks, and many others.
Congress failed to pass the FAA Reauthorization, and as a result, furloughed about 4,000 workers at midnight on July 22nd.
Board members of various school districts as well as universities implemented "furlough days" in 2009. This made students pay the same rate, if not more for their education while providing fewer educational days by forcing educators and staff members to take the day off. In states such as Georgia, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia included a clause so that mandatory furlough days are implemented but no classes are lost during the 2009-2010 academic year.
In California, the State Employee Trades Council (SETC) voted to implement a mandatory two-day per month furlough policy for the staff and faculty of the CSU
The California State University is a public university system in the state of California. It is one of three public higher education systems in the state, the other two being the University of California system and the California Community College system. It is incorporated as The Trustees of the...
system. The furloughs, intended to prevent layoffs, began in August 2009, and ended in June 2010. The 10% cut saved about $270 million of the CSU's $564 million dollar budget deficit.
Potential furlough in 2011
Congress was on the verge of forcing a government shutdown on April 8, 2011, if their plan to reduce the federal budget deficit were not resolved, which would have caused the furlough of 800,000 out of 2 million civilian federal employees.