Harrah's Entertainment Inc. is stepping up its efforts to aid its staff in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, keeping its focus on the health and safety of nearly 8,000 employees in Biloxi, Gulfport and New Orleans.
Last week the entertainments operator announced the establishment of its Employee Recovery Fund, with an initial commitment of US$1 million from the Harrah's Foundation. The company is also offering its 100,000 employees throughout the USA the chance to donate funds through payroll deductions. Displaced employees from the Gulf Coast region are being sent to other employment opportunities within the company elsewhere in the country.
In Las Vegas, Harrah's six properties offered free rooms (for up to two nights) to help current guests from the affected region who were unable to return home as a result of the hurricane. According to the company's press statements, as more news and damage assessments become available, the company will take additional steps to bolster relief efforts.
For the next 90 days, the company will also cover health care premiums for hourly and non-management employees; pay all medical claims as "in-network", regardless of where medical coverage is received; suspend pre-authorisation requirements for medical care; suspend time limits on access to scheduled prescriptions drug deliveries and/or refills; suspend time limits on vision care coverage; and use the Western Union network to wire emergency funds to employees unable to access their bank accounts (and pay the cost of such transactions).
Harrah's is asking all displaced employees to call its Employee Relief Hotline (877-422-7466) so they can be accounted for and directed to relief services.