You’ll Never Be Too Prepared – Disaster Recovery

Would you be ready if mother nature threw a hurricane straight into your area? By the time you hear the news you’re hustling to get supplies before the store shelves are empty.

DecisionHR recommends that you have a disaster recovery plan prepared and ready for any weather disasters that may suddenly occur. We are providing a guideline below to help you establish your plan.

Know the Facts and Have a Plan

Did you know that a hurricane can pack wind speeds of over 160 mph and unleash 2.4 trillion gallons of rain within a 24-hour period. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

What Should I Do?

Before

  • Talk with your supervisor about your team’s business continuity plan, what you are expected to do and how to stay in contact
  • Have a plan for you, your family and your pets
  • Identify shelter (friend, relative, hotel/motel) where you can stay if ordered to evacuate
  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Plan to leave 24-36 hours in advance of storm landfall
  • Make a survival kit
  • Board up all windows and doors
  • Trim trees

After Watch / Warning is Issued

  • Listen to weather updates on TV or radio
  • Install your hurricane shutters or plywood. Remove anything in your yard that could become windborne
  • Fill your vehicle gas tank and an extra gas can
  • Withdraw enough cash to last for several days
  • Turn up refrigerators and freezers to maximum cold. Turn off propane cans and unplug small appliances
  • Disinfect a bathtub and fill it with water for washing dishes and flushing toilets
  • Evacuate if you are required to do so or if you do not wish to remain in your home

During

  • Identify a safe interior room with no window that’s on the lowest floor. Stay away from windows and doors
  • Expect to lose power, have flashlights within reach of your safe room
  • Never venture outside during the storm
  • Be aware of the hurricane’s “eye” and a brief period of calm may occur and will be followed by winds blowing in the opposite direction
  • Stay away from rising water and fallen power lines

After

  • Monitor local radio and TV for recovery activities
  • Stay away from loose or dangling power lines and report them to the power company
  • Contact loved ones to let them know you’re safe
  • Return to your home and venture outside ONLY after local officials tell you it’s safe to do so
  • Inspect your home for damage and take pictures of damages. If your home is unsafe or badly damaged, locate other accommodations
  • Use the telephone for emergencies only

Who should get paid:

Nonexempt (hourly) employees: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay nonexempt employees only for hours that the employees have actually worked. Therefore, an employer is not required to pay nonexempt employees if the employer is unable to provide work to those employees due to a natural disaster.

An exception to this general rule exists where there are employees who receive fixed salaries for fluctuating workweeks. These are nonexempt employees who have agreed to work an unspecified number of hours for a specified salary. An employer must pay these employees their full weekly salary for any week in which any work was performed.

Exempt (salary) employees:  An employer will be required to pay the employee’s full salary if the worksite is closed or unable to reopen due to inclement weather or other disasters for less than a full workweek. However, an employer may require exempt employees to use allowed leave for this time.

Exempt (salary) employee chooses to stay home because of weather: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) considers an absence caused by transportation difficulties experienced during weather emergencies, if the employer is open for business, as an absence for personal reasons. Under this circumstance, an employer may place an exempt employee on leave without pay (or require the employee to use accrued vacation time) for the full day that he or she fails to report to work. If an employee is absent for one or more full days for personal reasons, the employee’s salaried status will not be affected if deductions are made from a salary for such absences.

However, a deduction from salary for less than a full-day’s absence is not permitted, although the employer may make a partial day time deduction from the employee’s leave bank (if there is insufficient time in the leave bank, no deduction from salary can be made).

Caution is recommended, however, in docking salaried employees’ pay. Moreover, many employers instead require employees to “make up” lost time after they return to work, which is permissible for exempt employees. This practice is not allowed for nonexempt employees, who must be paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a work week.

Don’t wait until last minute to prepare for a hurricane. DecisionHR executed their disaster recovery plan successfully and learned some huge lessons from recent hurricanes. You never know what may come your way. Before the chaos begins, you should establish a disaster recovery plan for you and your family. If you want more information on how to create a disaster recovery plan, contact your DecisionHR Human Resources Business Partner at 1-888-828-5511.