HR Preparations for Hurricane Irma

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Erick Barnes

TAMPA, Fla. — Hurricane Irma hit northern Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday, causing major damage in some areas, and current predictions show it is heading toward Florida. As we’ve seen in the past, a storm of this size could also lead to weeks of rain and flooding in other areas of the U.S.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency and started issuing evacuation orders, and U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.

Regardless of where it makes landfall, the U.S. is likely to face one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, which is well above the 157 mph threshold of a Category 5 hurricane. Safety is paramount for those in Irma’s path, but Human Resources professionals in the path need to be prepared, too. Even those not in the direct path may have employees impacted due to evacuations and family concerns.

HR issues like leave eligibility, time records and communicating with employees during a natural disaster can be difficult and confusing. SHRM has put together a list of good tools for those affected.

Of course, natural disasters can occur anywhere, and often without prior warning. So, it’s a good idea to have all the tools available at your disposal at all times. In HR, we’re in the business of humans, and it’s up to us to help employees during even the most trying times.

Stay alert, stay safe and be prepared.


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