Overview: Natural disasters are outside of an employer's control. What an employer can control is how prepared it is to deal with a hurricane, a blizzard, a tornado or any other act of nature that affects the workplace. Employers should create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and train employees on it before anything actually happens.
Employers should identify the types of natural disasters that are likely to affect the workplace. An employer in Kansas might not need a plan to respond to a volcano, for example, where a Hawaiian employer might. While it is good to be prepared for anything, and a good EAP will be flexible enough to deal with the unexpected, the plan should focus on what is most likely to occur.
Once a risk analysis has been completed, employers can create an EAP and secure its facilities, information and systems. The workplace should also be drilled to test the plan and to make sure that employees know what to do when nature strikes.
Trends: Technology makes it easier to deal with a natural disaster. An employer can store important information off-site (such as in "the cloud"), and employees can be set up to telecommute.
Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
California employers seeking to advise employees on how to proceed in case of bad weather should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Employers seeking to advise employees how to proceed in case of bad weather should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
There are many employment concerns when a hurricane hits. This Hot Topic shows all of XpertHR's resources to help an employer prepare for hurricane season.
When natural disasters hit, it is prudent to be prepared in order to see minimal damage to production and to employees. This Inclement Weather Policy can be used to help an employer handle natural disasters that might affect the workplace.
An employer can use this new policy as a guide to keeping business functions, workplaces and employees safe if a natural disaster strikes.
Generally, the FMLA does not require employers to provide leave in order for employees to manage their personal situations. However, there are times that employees affected by a natural disaster may be entitled to FMLA leave or whose impairments may also constitute a disability under the ADA.
XpertHR's editors have compiled a list of available resources to help employers manage the myriad of employment challenges that natural disasters such as hurricanes spawn.
An employer may use this policy to reduce risk, protect stakeholder's interest and ensure continuation of services in the midst of a catastrophic event or natural disaster.
Employers need to have an emergency action plan in place, devised carefully and in review of the most current policies and legal issues, with specific responses in place for employees to follow. This How To provides steps for communicating with employees in the event of an emergency, since the emergency may occur out of the vicinity where employees can heed supervisors' direction.
HR guidance on preparing for and responding to natural disasters.