Nearly 800 employees not reporting to work Monday; La-Z-Boy Neosho responds to the C-19 pandemic

Joplin News First

Employees were placed on furlough as of 5:00 PM Sunday, "Furlough is an involuntary, unpaid leave as we idle our facilities in response to the COVID19 pandemic." Leadership states

NEOSHO, Mo. – In an letter to employees on Sunday La-Z-Boy abruptly closed down their Neosho facility, which celebrated 50 years of furniture making last fall in Newton County. This means up to 800 local workers could be signing up for unemployment.

“While our country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have been our strong preference to provide employees with more notice, but that was simply not possible,” states La-Z-Boy Leadership in the letter.

“Across the nation, our La-Z-Boy facilities have been closing over the last weeks by orders of the government, along with other manufacturers and retailers in our communities. We appreciate all of the work you have been doing, and your steps to keep yourselves, your families, friends and coworkers safe.”

These employees are not being laid off, they are being put on furlough, explained as: “Furlough is an involuntary, unpaid leave as we idle our facilities in response to the COVID19 pandemic. In general, employees can expect to be able to return to work after a period of time.”

La-Z-Boy will provide one week of emergency paid leave. And they “strongly encourage” employees to immediately apply for unemployment benefits.

“We believe that the combination of state unemployment benefits, the new $600/week federal unemployment benefits, and potential Stimulus Act checks for qualifying employees will help to carry everyone through.”

They state they do not know how long this furlough will last. But it seems they are prepared to at least be shut down until June, providing information on Health Insurance benefits, they are covered until June. Each insured employee should also file for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

Employees can apply for unemployment benefits in Missouri by clicking here. Also apply for benefits through the Federal CARES Act, click here for information.

“At this time, we are anticipating returning our employees to work at the end of the furlough period, although we do not have a date at this time. In the event we determine that the furlough must be extended, or that permanent job cuts are required, we will notify affected employees as quickly as possible.”

Last October, according to a corporate press release, the Neosho La-Z-Boy plant celebrated 50 years of furniture manufacturing in Newton County. In a special presentation attended by U.S. Congressman Billy Long, executives unveiled chair #18-million produced on the 55 acre campus.

It’s thought that 800 are employed at the Neosho facility and nearly 6,000 at other manufacuring plants across the country. It appears all the manufacturing locations are on furlough until further notice.

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