Pay and Benefits During Natural Disaster
What Happens to My Job?
Of course, immediate concerns during a natural disaster are more related to the safety of your family than anything else. But the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have led many to wonder what is happening to all of these employees and their workplaces?
Here in California, we don’t necessarily worry about being terrorized by hurricanes, but we do often experience heavy storms that our towns are not built for. And of course, we unfortunately know just how devastating our earthquakes can be. In that event, it’s good to know what you can expect.
Nonexempt vs. Exempt Employees
These two different employment statuses are distinguished by the type of payment arrangement made with their employer. Nonexempt employees are paid hourly, while exempt employees are paid on salary. This make a huge difference in how they are compensated in the event of a natural disaster.
Nonexempt employees are only paid for the hours they work. If the employer is not able to provide work for nonexempt employees because of a natural disaster, then they are not obligated to pay. Exempt employees, however, are entitled to full pay if their workplace can’t open or function as a result of the event.
What if I can’t get to work?
There is also the possibility that your workplace can operate, but you elect to stay home either because you can’t make it to work or you think it would be too dangerous to try. These days would be treated the same as having to miss work for a personal reason, as this is how the U.S. Labor Department of Labor views transportation difficulties. Non-exempt employees would not be paid, while exempt employees would have the options of unpaid leave, paid time off, or using a vacation day.