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Getting Paid After Hurricane Sandy

Information about returning to work—or getting paid until you can—after Hurricane Sandy.

Getting Paid After Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Northeast, destroying lives, homes and jobs. Below is some information about how to get back to work or get paid while you are trying to put your life back together.

Will you still get paid if you can’t get to work or your office or business is closed? 

Employers are covered by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which defines whether an employee is entitled to be paid when a business is closed. If you fall under the status of “exempt”, as many salaried workers do, you are entitled to be paid. If you are non-exempt, then you are not—although you should still receive a paycheck for hours that you worked prior to Sandy's arrival.

For some, Hurricane Sandy may mean more pay or a new employment opportunity. 

Under the FLSA, most non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, so if you are working long hours in a non-exempt position, restoring power or clearing damaged trees, your next paycheck will be larger. And you may find some new employment opportunities. Home improvement stores may add employees in anticipation of home improvement and repair projects. You may also find more jobs in the construction, landscape and transportation industries.

You may be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Residents who are unemployed as a direct result of the storm and who live in of parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that were declared federal disaster areas may be eligible to apply for unemployment assistance. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, anyone unemployed due to Hurricane Sandy is immediately eligible and can submit a claim to the Department of Labor. The criterion for collecting disaster assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits.

Specifically, an individual can collect disaster assistance in any of the following cases:

  • You are injured in the disaster and unable to work, whether you are an employee or self-employed.
  • Your workplace is damaged or destroyed, or you cannot work because of the disaster, or you cannot get to work because you must travel through the affected area, which is impossible due to the disaster.
  • You planned to begin working but cannot because of the disaster.
  • You derived most of your income from areas affected by the disaster, and your office or business is closed or inoperable because of the disaster.

To apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance, those who were affected by the storm or have lost their job or income should call the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or 1-877-358-5306 if they live outside of New York state.

Make do at your old or new home office.

To get a paycheck, you may find yourself suddenly working from home or having to get more creative to be productive in your home office that lacks power. That may mean working from a friend’s house that has power or using a generator. Here are some images of the AOL editorial team working through Hurricane Sandy. As you can see, many of us are in the same boat.

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