What Are the Different Types of Unemployment?

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  • Written By: Jan Fletcher
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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The different types of unemployment include loss of a full-time salaried job, loss of a part-time job, or an undesired period of time in-between full-time or part-time employment. Temporary layoffs or enforced furloughs are another type of unemployment, in which the worker has a reasonable expectation of being called back to work. Some periods of being out of work are due to a medical leave of absence. Underemployment is a term for a situation in which a person works in a job that does not befit his or her education or training, or pays less than the individual needs to sustain a modest standard of living.

Full-time salaried workers who are not terminated due to error on their part, but instead are laid off, are often accorded the right to draw unemployment benefits. The cost for these benefits may be provided by insurance premiums an employer pays while the worker is an employee. There are usually restrictions on these benefits, such as the requirement to search for a new job. In various countries, full-time employees may be able to continue on a company's health insurance plan, or receive other benefits during the time of unemployment.


Sometimes workers may be laid off temporarily, with the expectation that they will be called back to work when the company can revive its productive activities. This is common in industries that experience seasonal swings. If he or she is a union member, in addition to any unemployment benefits that may be available, the worker may also be able to draw upon help from the union to which they belong. In the case of striking workers who are unemployed, unions often maintain a fund to help workers subsist during the strike.

Part-time workers do this by choice, or because they were unable to find full-time employment. Sometimes part-time workers furloughed by a company qualify for unemployment insurance and sometimes they do not. Part-time workers may work more than one job in order to provide sufficient income for their needs. In underemployment, the individual desires full-time work, but is unable to find it, and then may attempt to piece together enough income by working two lower-paying jobs, or one-part time job. A person may be considered underemployed even while working full-time, if multiple jobs are needed to provide full-time work.

Another type of unemployment may be a consequence of a medical problem. Medically caused unemployment may be temporary, or permanent, depending on the medical condition. If the person received an injury while on the job, he or she may receive compensation to provide for medical care and income needs. In cases where disability insurance is provided by the person's employer, the unemployed worker may receive disability payments temporarily or permanently.


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