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Hurricane Preparedness: A Checklist for Your Business

by John Stebbins on Oct 17, 2018 1:41:15 PM

It’s hurricane season. And if your business operates in an area that could be impacted, it’s critical that you have an action plan in place in case of closures. Here are 10 things to address so you’ll remain in compliance with employment laws – and keep your employees in the know.

How to Prepare Your Business for a Hurricane

1. Assess Your Liability: When making a decision to close in the event of a hurricane, remember to consider the risks you face if you decide to stay open and an employee gets injured on the job.

2. Establish a Team: Pull together leaders, managers and other personnel and assign necessary tasks that need to be handled during a weather closure.

3. Develop a Policy, and Share It: Be sure your employee handbook contains your inclement weather protocols so that workers understand what situations may prompt a closure, the way they’ll be contacted, compensation impacts, and so on.

4. Communicate Closures: In addition to having a plan for letting employees know about closures, you’ll need to inform customers, clients and vendors if your operations are impacted and how they can get updates of your status.

5. Consider Compensation Impacts: If you close for all or part of a day, nonexempt employees must only be paid for the hours worked, while exempt employees must be paid for the entire work week if they worked any part of it. Make sure you spell out these details in your handbook to eliminate confusion.

Download the Hurricane Preparedness Map

6. Address PTO: For both exempt and nonexempt employees, employers can require employees to use vacation time or PTO so consider your options and set a policy.

7. Determine How to Handle Remote Workers: If nonexempt workers can do work from home, be sure you establish record-keeping procedures for tracking their hours.

8. Understand FMLA: If workers suffer an injury or illness as a result of a hurricane, you may need to grant leave under the FMLA for qualifying employees.

9. Maintain a Safe Workplace: Hurricanes can cause power outages, flooding and other hazardous conditions in the workplace so be sure you adequately protect employees against dangers.

10. Offer Support: Depending on the severity of the hurricane, your employees may suffer damage to their homes or other property or even the loss of a loved one. During times of crisis, it’s important to offer support such as an employee assistance program.

Since hurricanes can create big HR challenges, find out if you’re at risk so you can prepare. Download our map.

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