According to The Weather Channel, the “nor’easter” is “poised to pack a massive punch in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England” today. Winter Storm Janus is forecasted to bring travel delays, school and federal government closings, power outages, and more. With these effects, businesses are impacted quickly and owners are left scrambling to carry on “business as usual”.
Inclement weather can have the most impact on staffing and business processes. Every business owner understands the importance of having a backup plan for crucial business and human resource functions. These may include instituting severe weather policies or automating processes to ensure bad weather will not prevent day-to-day business. Here are a few tips to help prepare:
Severe Weather Policies
When weather becomes too dangerous to safely open for business, employers need to have a policy in place. Setting the standards for emergency conditions helps clarify expectations for employees. For example, if the company is unable to open, will the employer cover a paid day off for the lost business day? Or are employees required to make up hours throughout the remainder of the pay period? Keep in mind, from the last blog post regarding workers’ compensation, there is a level of employer’s assumed risk during these events. If the employer opens for business, they may assume risk of negligence for remaining open during dangerous conditions. A regular review of your company’s workers’ compensation policy is recommended to ensure coverage of worker’s injuries on company property due to inclement weather.
Now is not only the time for major winter storm systems but also for the shipments of Forms W-2. Many shipping companies tend to work on delays or postpone shipments until conditions are safe; therefore, preparation is key. Electronic delivery of tax forms and other documents can alleviate the burdens of inclement weather. There are some services that allow for secure, paperless delivery of tax forms where employers and employees alike can log in to see the appropriate documents. This 24/7 service gives the option to view and print tax documents from any location with an internet connection.
Similarly, in times of crisis or emergency, it is essential to make sure your employees are paid on time. This means not having to wait for paper checks or vouchers to come via mail. There are many different options for going paperless to ensure accurate delivery of payroll. One obvious option is to have all your employees sign up for direct deposit. Many institutions are able to guarantee funds into the account within 48 hours of processing payroll. An alternate option for unbanked employees would be a pay card. New alternatives such as Bank of America’s Money Network Program offer convenient access to funds with a debit card and self-addressed check options. This type of solution is a great alternative to live checks that can be delayed for employees during inclement weather.
Employers should talk with their workers’ compensation and payroll provider(s) about these topics. Paperless solutions are essential for employers when storms like “Janus” hit. Talk with a member of the MPAY Network about these solutions or download our brochure to learn more.