As millions of job cuts tear through the US economy, a faint glimmer of light has emerged: Some employers are trying to maintain ties to the staffers they're letting go so they can more quickly rehire them once the viral outbreak has passed, the AP reports. Several large retail chains are furloughing workers—a form of temporary job cut that often maintains health insurance—rather than laying them off. And many small businesses, too, are keeping in touch with workers they've had to let go. "Anyone who's trying to lay off workers is already thinking about how they can bring them back," said Jania Bailey, CEO of FranNet, a consultancy that works with franchise companies.
One of them is Tracy True, who said she's keeping in touch at least once a week with the 10 furloughed staffers of her clothing store in Vestavia, Alabama. "As soon as we're given the all clear," True says, "we'll be back." How long millions of other laid-off employees will remain without work will help determine the depth and duration of a US recession that's almost surely begun and is destined to worsen in coming months. Britney Ruby Miller, co-owner of a chain of steakhouses, said her company is paying for health insurance through June for the roughly 600 workers they had to lay off. The company is also sending weekly updates to its former employees and keeping them on an employee assistance program. "The goal," Miller said, "is to welcome 100% of our employees back."
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