Manage and pay your staff after a natural disaster

Find out what financial assistance and support is available if you have been affected by a natural disaster.

If your employees live and work in the local area, they may have been significantly affected by the natural disaster that affected your business. While some employees may be keen to return to work as soon as it is safe, others may request additional time to clean up and repair their own properties.


  • How have your employees been affected? Is there anything you can do to help and support them?
  • How many employees do you have available for cleaning and repair work? Can you retain all of your employees and assign them other roles until your business is back up and running?
  • Is there a possibility that some employees may not return (e.g. leaving the area, moving to temporary accommodation elsewhere, unable to return to work)?

Your responsibilities as an employer

If your business has been affected by a natural disaster you should be aware of your legal obligations and responsibilities as an employer. Fair Work Australia has information about employment entitlements during natural disasters or emergencies.

Standing down staff without pay

If you have to close your business temporarily after a natural disaster you may be able to change employment arrangements, including standing down staff without pay. Phone the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 for specific information on your circumstances.

Work health and safety

A natural disaster may bring health and safety risks to workplaces, but you still have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy working environment.

Learn more about work health and safety.

Look after your employees

Disasters can cause stress and anxiety, so look after yourself and your employees. Find resources to support mental health and wellbeing during and after disasters.

Keep your employees well-informed about what is happening with your business. Check how they have been affected and how you can help them.

Consider staff morale—rebuilding the spirit of your staff will help you to create a positive atmosphere as you rebuild your business.

Find out more about managing staff.

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