Furlough – what does it mean and what are your rights as an employee?

The term furlough is being used a lot at the moment.

As a result of the outbreak of the Coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of people have been left unemployed. Many of whom have been placed on furlough, which something that quite a few people have never really heard of before.  

So, we wanted to give everyone the low down on furlough, and what exactly it means for people. 

Furlough comes from the Dutch word verlof, which means “leave of absence”).

It refers to a temporary leave of employees due to special needs of a company or employer, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole. Or, in this case, a global pandemic.


These involuntary furloughs can be short or long term, depending on the position of the business, and their strategy. 

So, if you have been furloughed, or placed on temporary leave, what are you entitled to?

Employees, self-employed people, students and part-time workers can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, which is a weekly payment of €350.


To qualify for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66
  • Live in the Republic of Ireland
  • Have been in employment or self-employment immediately before Friday 13 March 2020. If you work shifts, short time or other atypical work patterns you must have been in employment on or after 6 March 2020.
  • Have lost your job or be temporarily laid off from work or asked to stay at home from work due to the pandemic
  • Be self-employed and your trading income has ceased due to the pandemic.

For more information on your rights, have a look here

Be safe, and be well! 

Author Rebecca O'Keeffe

More posts by Rebecca O'Keeffe

Leave a Reply