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Employers Offer Sandy-Affected Workers Hot Showers, Housing, Cash

White collar workplaces have been extraordinarily generous, allowing employees throughout their organization and their families to come to the office for hot meals and showers, and giving out extra paid time off, cash gifts, and temporary housing.

American Express workers in the Tri-State area who were severely impacted received 10 additional paid days off, and up to $500 to pay for clothing, food, shelter and a rental car, a spokeswoman said. AmEx also provided up to $2,500 for temporary living arrangements for storm victims who were displaced, and up to $5,000 if they lost their homes.

The Lakewood, N.J., facility of pharmaceutical company DPT Labs gave all its employees an unspecified amount of paid time off to deal with their issues at home, although it "was a significant cost to the company," president and general manager Eugene Ciolfi said via email.

Workers At All Levels Helped

One employee at Interbrand, the Manhattan-based global branding company, lost his home in Ocean Township, Long Island. The company allowed him to take all the paid time off that he needs. "This is someone who works in the mailroom, not an executive," says spokesman Russel Clark. "It doesn't matter who you are and what you do."

CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold Township, N.J., offered free, fully-furnished apartments to 12 of its employees who were "devastated" by the storm, said spokeswoman Abbie Luterick. JetBlue Airways Corp., which has 5,000 employees in New York, also is working on providing hotel rooms -- and anything else employees need -- to those who lost their homes.

Finding A Place To Work

With swaths of offices and homes in the dark, some employees who had power opened their dwellings to co-workers who didn't. The online design store's CEO Jason Goldberg sent an email to staffers the morning after the storm, asking if any folks with power could offer their homes. Out of the 150 or so with power, 114 immediately said yes. Goldberg himself hosted 15 employees at his Hell's Kitchen apartment, and then gave all employees a $50 bonus for each day the office was closed -- to cover costs and as a thank-you for finding a way to work.
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