- With Hurricane Matthew barreling up the nation's Southeastern coast, it's the right time for employers to remember that every workplace has the potential to be affected by extreme weather events or natural disasters like hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes or floods.
- According to XpertHR, an online HR compliance and policy resource, employers must be prepared for the unexpected, so having an effective response plan in place for dealing with extreme inclement weather will help protect both the employer and its employees.
- For Hurricane Matthew, there is time to react, as evacuations are proceeding at press time. But should bad weather or a natural disaster, such as a tornado or earthquake, strike while employees are in the workplace, is there an effective evacuation plan or shelter-in-place procedure to follow? If the workplace is closed permanently, how will it be communicated to employees? Is an employer really ready how to react should and employee (or employees) be seriously injured or due to extreme weather or natural disaster?
Apart from emergency planning focused on employee safety, HR leaders also need to know that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements may exist for paying employees when they do not come to work because of the weather. Also, there could be Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) concerns that employers needs to know, according to XpertHR. If the workplace must close permanently, will the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act apply? XpertHR offers a massive list of links employers can use in answering those questions, and more.
HR decision-makers should know that according to a survey from CareerBuilder, while the vast majority of workers (93%) feel their office is a secure place to work, 22% are unsure how they would protect themselves in the case of an emergency in their office that posed a physical threat. Also, 17% do not feel their workplaces are well-protected in case of a fire, flood or other disaster, and 22% don’t believe their companies have emergency plans in place should such events occur. So, it seems, communicating emergency plans could use some extra effort if those survey results reflect reality.