When Hurricane Sandy roared up the East Coast in October, it brought immense destruction to heavily populated areas. The June 2012 derecho storm that tore from the Great Lakes through the Mid-Atlantic produced destructive winds.
Natural disasters can bring business to a standstill.
Even so, employers must still comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act—which sets the federal wage-and-hour rules for paying employees—regardless of how high the water rises.
It’s critical to maintain redundant systems to avoid losing payroll records and preserve the ability to issue paychecks. Many payroll companies offer cloud or off-site storage of wage-and-hour data, so even if your facility is damaged or destroyed, existing payroll information is preserved.
Consider similar safeguards for all financial data, especially tax-related information.
What if, despite back-up systems, a disaster makes it impossible for you to meet payroll? Contact the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division at (866) 4USWAGE (487-9243) for guidance.
You only have to payfor hours actually worked. That means there’s no obligation to pay them for work that was scheduled, but did not occur because of the disaster.
Note: In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of Labor launched a web page containing wage-and-hour guidance for employers. Access it here.