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July 10, 2018
September 21, 2017

Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster?

Monica Dixon Perry

Considering the many recent disasters that our country has been experiencing and (while I am writing this practice tip) are presently experiencing, preparedness is a timely topic. Our goal is to equip our clients and readers with tools and resources to simplify the many concerns that come with managing a veterinary hospital - including disaster preparedness. When hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and tornadoes hit, we are hopeful that you are prepared as much as is possible. VMC's Disaster Preparedness Plan should be a nice foundation to get you started. The important point is to have your disaster preparedness plan mapped out before you need it. Don’t wait until you are in the midst of a storm to try and prepare. Be ready for these types of events and your patients, clients and team will appreciate your efforts!

In addition to the preparedness plan, here are some guidelines to address issues such as mandatory evacuations and paying employees when your practice is unable to open and operate.

Mandatory Evacuations

Employees can be required to work during a mandatory evacuation and, technically, they can be terminated for not coming to work during those times. That being said, before requiring employees to work or terminating employment, it is recommended that you first contact counsel for guidance and direction.

Employee compensation when a business cannot open

An employer is not required to pay non-exempt employees if the employer is unable to provide work due to a natural disaster. For exempt 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 work week. An employee may require exempt employees to use allowed leave for this time.

Out of all the practice tips and advice we provide our readers, my hope and prayer is that you are never faced with having to use any of the information provided in this article. Take good care of yourselves and be safe!

Download our Disaster Preparedness Document that you can customize for your practice (requires Microsoft Word).

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