Does an employer have to lay a person off for that person to get unemployment insurance payments?

No. An employer can furlough workers, who will then be eligible for unemployment insurance payments.

 

It is also possible for an employer to continue to pay an employee’s health benefits during a furlough, which would still allow the employee to receive unemployment insurance payments until they are called back to work.

 

Depending on the way the state calculates unemployment insurance payments, it may be possible for those with reduced hours or reduced pay to receive unemployment insurance payments as well.