Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Answering the Call - May 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Opting for furloughs Furlough is just another name for a temporary layoff. It sounds better to the worker being furloughed — it's one of the small ways you can soften a blow that's going to sting regardless of how it's presented. Furloughs are used when employers have a reasonable expectation of bringing temporarily laid off individuals back to work within a short period of time. The key phrase here is "within a short period of time." Granted, you can define the duration of a furlough any number of ways, but I tend to think of it as a period between two and six weeks. If you think your ORs will be back online within that timeframe and want staff to be ready when surgeries begin again, a furlough is likely the way to go. Of course, you must make smart decisions when furloughing staff. Whenever you make a layoff decision — temporary or permanent — staff must be selected for job-related reasons, which must be docu- mented. Whether you furlough the entire staff or only select employ- ees during the current outbreak, the same principles apply. You must still document that job-related reasons (skillset and length of service, for example) were why you selected employees for furlough. When furloughing employees, set a date on which you expect the furlough to end. But do so in a manner that leaves some wiggle room if the situation changes. Note, for example, "We are anticipating a return to full operations on July 10, but will reevaluate the situation as we get closer to that date." Next, decide what, if anything, you want to do financially for the furloughed employees. Here are two common accommodations I've seen employers make: • Pay healthcare premiums. If the furlough is expected to last a month or two, which is hopefully the situation we're in now, covering the cost of health insurance provides employees with tremendous peace of mind. Keep in mind that healthcare premiums are typically Staffing S 2 2 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • M A Y 2 0 2 0

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