The Timeshare Boards Members Association provides clarification between a furlough and a layoff for hospitality workers

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Many are among the tens of millions of Americans filing for unemployment benefits, and are facing uncertainty

Timeshare Board Members Association

Resorts may decide to furlough workers as opposed to a permanent layoff, but COVID-19 is creating uncertainty as to when bringing back their employees may actually occur.

According to Shep Altshuler, President, Timeshare Board Members Association (TBMA), “While, timeshare resorts plan their reopening procedures that include sanitizing the property and rooms, staff and guest safety, many had to implement staff cutbacks because of the COVID-19 crisis, forcing those workers to join the unemployment lines.”    

Resorts may decide to furlough workers as opposed to a permanent layoff, but COVID-19 is creating uncertainty as to when bringing back their employees may actually occur.

A furlough can be defined as a temporary leave of absence from work imposed by an employer. Furloughed workers typically are not paid but keep employment benefits such as health insurance, so technically they remain employees.

Layoffs are when an employer dismisses employees. Employers often decide to furlough, rather than lay off, workers because firing and hiring people is costly.
Furloughed employees may receive unemployment benefits for the time they spend without pay. If they later receive back pay for their time on furlough, they must repay the unemployment benefits.

During the current crisis, works who qualify for unemployment are receiving their state’s typical unemployment benefit plus a $600 per week Federal unemployment benefit that lasts for 39 weeks.

The timeshare wrinkle    

When timeshare resorts that shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic begin to reopen, they will need housekeepers, many of whom work only one day a week to clean the units between occupants. However, the way this crisis unemployment program is structured, the mere offer of a part-time housekeeping job is more of a curse than a blessing for furloughed and laid-off workers alike.

If a resort furloughed its workers, and they receive unemployment benefits, they will lose those benefits when you end the furlough and bring them back for a fraction of what they received when not working. If they refuse to return, they may lose their unemployment benefits anyway.

If a resort laid off its workers at the onset of the shutdown, they will need to hire or rehire housekeepers—if you can find people willing to take those part-time jobs at a wage you can afford to pay. Anyone who turns down a job under these circumstances also risks losing unemployment benefits.

Still another complication exists for resorts that need more housekeepers during their peak season than at other times of year due to a large seasonal fluctuation in occupancy. That makes the offer of a part-time housekeeping job even less desirable.

Says one resort general manager: “I think it's great to have this safety net for people, but I think it will disincentivize the people I need to take part-time jobs. That's just human nature.”

About TBMA: The Association, formed in 2011, is a non-profit corporation. Its purpose is to provide education to timeshares owners’ association Board Members and to On-site Resort Managers. During the COVID-19 crisis, its 2020 programs include webinars by industry professionals, blogs, eNewsletters and video conference among its members. For more information contact Shep Altshuler, TBMA president at staff@tbmassoc.com or 201-924-7435. Timeshare Board Members and Resort Managers can join for free at http://www.tbmassoc.org.

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George Leposky, Reporter

Shep Altshuler, President TBMA
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