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I’m furloughed. Should I quit to search for a new job, or stay because they’re paying my benefits?


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First of all, if you’re still on furlough from your pre-pandemic employer and they’re still paying your benefits, you’re pretty lucky. The vast majority of employers in the US who initially furloughed their employees have since laid off their employees because this thing has lasted longer than anyone thought it would back in March.

Frankly, it’s also easier and cheaper for employers to just let you go. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed in the United States, and tbh, the paperwork to terminate your employment is also easier than the paperwork to furlough you.

I’ll keep it real, I’ve made my career in HR and prior to March of 2020 I had never heard the word furlough. So let’s define it. A furlough is a (hopefully) temporary leave of employees due to struggles at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole. Involuntary furloughs may be short or long term, and many of those affected can seek other temporary employment during that time.

This year more than ever, you need medical coverage and if you have an employer who is still paying for it then I say ride it out. Don’t you love the US government for tying health care coverage to having a job? In 2018, the United States spent about $3.6 trillion on healthcare, which averages to about $11,000 per person. Do you have $11K ready to go in an emergency?

As my mother always says, the best time to look for a job is while you have a job. So, my short answer is no, do not quit until you have secured new employment. There’s no end in sight for this pandemic and if you have someone else paying your healthcare—stay there.

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