11 HR Topics to Consider After a Natural Disaster Strikes

As a business, it’s important to consider the following while our community recovers from the tornadoes:

Employee support for those directly affected by the tornadoes: The first step to supporting affected employees is to get organized and assign a point of contact.

    • Example: Your business wishes to help employees obtain disaster relief
      • Assign a point of contact to assist employees in itemizing a list of what’s needed & what’s lost for insurance
      • Assign a point of contact to coordinate donations internally
      • Assign a point of contact to research organizations that can use the items collected, that exceed internal employee needs.
      • What is needed to establish proof of address when required for replacement documents? (Anything that demonstrates an address in a tornado affected area, from a drivers license to a bill.

Do any of your employees have transportation or technology issues as a result of the tornadoes?

  • It may be necessary to provide unique transportation or technology services so that employees can perform their work if either of these were affected by the tornados. What will this look like? How much will it cost? How long will you offer it?

It’s important to make EAP services easily accessible.

  • Reach out to your providers to assist in the coordination of services with affected employees.
    • Mental Health Resources
    • Immediate resources, insurance claims, legal, claims, PTSD

 How will you handle time off for those affected by the tornadoes and those who want to volunteer with recovery efforts? 

  • Will you allow a leave donation program for those affected?
  • Will you provide paid leave to those affected or require use of PTO, Vacation or leave without pay? In either scenario, do you anticipate capping the leave duration?
  • Will you provide paid leave or excused leave, to those wishing to volunteer time to help.

Is your affected employee eligible for FMLA due to the tornado?

  • Although they may not experience the standard “serious health condition” immediately, it is possible they may develop an FMLA eligible condition. Do not immediately disqualify FMLA requests without the proper due diligence. FMLA would not be an option to cover employee pay. FMLA is federally required job protection for certain job circumstances.

What community outreach and support does your business wish to provide?

  • Assess ways to get involved: internal drive, coordinate an onsite blood drive, provide an employee day for cleanup, host a community meal, and inquire suggestions from your employees!

Will your staffing plan require supplemental or alternative support during recovery efforts?

  • Can you offer flexible scheduling, alternative work schedules or leverage cross training to keep the business going while employees are trying to rebuild?
  • Will external temporary support be necessary?

Will your insurance plans be affected?

  • If operations are suspended due to business closings, employers need to determine if the benefit plans will be continued, and ensure appropriate communications and required notices are provided.

Support for your HR team!

  • They will be busy with their regular job on top of trying their best to help employees navigate their personal situations. Don’t take their role for granted. Call in extra support to ensure they are not overwhelmed and your employees receives the care and attention they deserve.

Don’t forget employees indirectly affected by the tornadoes. 

  • They may not have experienced property damage, but may have experienced trauma as a result of the same storms. Ensure they are receiving access to the EAP services as well.

Is your business aware of the current spread of communicable disease, Hepatitis A?

  • There is an ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A in the area, since June 2018. Recovery efforts disrupt some people’s typical hygiene routines, making the spread an even greater risk. In addition to assisting your employees with locating a free shot clinic, your business can take steps to ensure your employees and families have access to appropriate hygiene resources. If you have an onsite shower, ensure employees and their families know this resource is available to use.


Resources Links:

Contact HR Elements for more information.

  • FEMA – Anyone in need can apply for state and federal assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Report damage: State Emergency Management Office ema.ohio.gov/
  • Emergency Needs: American Red Cross – https://www.redcross.org/local/ohio/greater-cincinnati-dayton.html
  • Public Health – free replacement birth certificates, cribs, shots
    • Birth Certificates: Call (937) 496-3117
    • Hepatitis A Vaccines will be available. Shot clinics are available in the community
  • Property Deeds: Montgomery County Recorders Office, 937-225-6381 or by visiting mcrecorder.org. Those affected may also visit in person from 8a.m. to 4p.m. at 451 W. Third Street, Dayton.