Restaurants Struggle to Help Employees

November 9, 2012 – In The News
Crain's New York Business

Restaurants affected by Hurricane Sandy are not only struggling to deal with their own losses but also assist their employees who were not paid during the close of business.

Some hourly employees who were unable to work for several days, and therefore went without pay, seem to have fallen through the bureaucratic maze of government programs aimed at helping storm victims.

“The Department of Labor has given us different answers about whether employees can collect a benefit [under the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program],” said Carolyn Richmond, a labor attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP and counsel to the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

Restaurants are not obligated by law to pay hourly workers for the time they do not work, but many are attempting to help by extending loans to those who need money to pay immediate bills, or offering temporary employment to those in need.

“We have been hearing from employers that their workers who have tried to collect unemployment for the week they were out of work were told they are not eligible,” added Ms. Richmond.