Comp Benefits Remained Intact for Hurricane-Affected Companies

April 5, 2006 ( - A recent survey by shows that the majority of employers affected by last year's hurricanes retained their employees and compensation benefits and offered added help to employees.

Just 5% of the companies surveyed reported that the hurricanes triggered layoffs or furloughs, according to a press release. Thirty-nine percent of companies looked to hire additional employees. However, employee recruitment and retention was a problem for nearly 60% of the companies surveyed.

Only 3% of companies affected by the hurricanes were forced to lay off employees. In organizations where layoffs did occur, on average 35% of the staff was laid off. Only 4% of companies were forced to temporarily furlough employees, on average, 50% of their staff.

Only 2% of the employers reported that they had reduced salaries/wages as a result of the hurricanes, while 28% raised salaries/wages and nearly 72% kept salaries/wages at their existing levels. The release said t he majority of companies (95%) reported they were not reducing their previously planned 2006 salary increases.

Within the 2% of companies forced to reduce salaries/wages, cutbacks of nearly 20% were given to hourly workers and 10% to salaried workers. Nearly 16% of companies surveyed offered retention bonuses to employees averaging nearly $1,000 for hourly workers and nearly $800 for salaried workers. Almost 96% of companies surveyed intended to pay bonuses, and almost 6% of organizations offered sign-on bonuses for new hires, averaging $1,700 for salaried employees and $300 for hourly employees.

In addition, some form of temporary living assistance has been offered by 33% of the employers. Of companies that offered temporary living assistance to employees, around 9% offered it for more than a year, 46% for six months and 26% for one month.

Top temporary living assistance programs included:

  • approved time off with pay from work to repair their homes or while the office/plant was closed,
  • relocation assistance or work at a different facility within the same company,
  • grants or low-interest loans,
  • organization/employee fund,
  • commission guarantees based on previous earnings. surveyed companies with operations in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Florida affected by Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. One hundred-nineteen companies participated in the survey.

Survey results can be obtained here .