On Monday, Signet Jewelers announced that it was temporarily furloughing an unspecified number of members of its store and support teams, according to a company memo.
One week prior, America’s largest jeweler—which owns the Kay, Jared, Zales, Peoples, and Piercing Pagoda chains—shut all its North American stores. It said that team members will continue to receive pay and benefits through April 4, using a combination of base pay and paid-time-off provisions.
Furloughed Signet employees will not be paid but will still receive health care benefits. They can also apply for unemployment benefits, which were expanded by the recent CARES bill.
Furloughed workers will not work during the specified period and those experiencing severe hardship can request aid from a Signet relief fund.
“The decision to implement furloughs was extremely difficult, and like all decisions impacting team members, was taken with the utmost care and attention,” wrote chief people officer Mary Finn in the memo. “Our hope is that by taking necessary temporary measures, we’ll be able to ensure there is a strong Signet to welcome you back when we reopen our stores.”
Signet is just one of a number of big retailers that have furloughed workers recently, including Macy’s and Kohl’s.
“A lot of employers prefer furloughs to layoffs because it’s easier to get the employees to come back,” said Hillary Baca, employment law attorney at Nixon Peabody, on a Jewelers of America webinar. “When you’re ready to ramp back up, you don’t have to train new people.”
In other Signet news, the company has appointed Vincent Ciccolini (pictured below) as its chief accounting officer, effective Monday.
Ciccolini first joined Signet in June 2019 as its senior vice president and controller.
Prior to joining Signet, Ciccolini worked in accounting and financial positions at Brightstar and Hertz Corp. He received a B.S. in accounting at the University of Akron and has a J.D. degree from the University of Akron School of Law.
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