Willis-Knighton Rewards Employees for Support during Weather Disaster

Feb 25, 2021

Willis-Knighton Health System announced today that it will pay all nonessential employees who were unable to work during the 10-day winter weather event that not only limited travel but created a loss of water at many Willis-Knighton facilities. Further, the health system will reward the many essential and nonessential employees who made the extra effort to report to work during the severe weather event, some even staying overnight at the hospital to assure patients received the care and support they needed.

“We often refer to the people at Willis-Knighton as our family,” said James K. Elrod, president and CEO of Willis-Knighton. “That’s why we felt we needed to do what family does.”

Due to the length and the severity of this weather disaster (Sunday, Feb. 14, to Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021), senior executives recognized that many employees would be seriously affected financially from the loss of a week or more of pay and that they would be forced to use vacation or sick time to make up the differences.

Elrod indicated that Willis-Knighton will pay every employee who was deemed “nonessential” and was not required to report to work during the event for the number of hours they were normally scheduled to work, thus missing no pay. Additionally, both essential and nonessential employees who reported for work during the weather disaster will be rewarded with an extra hour of vacation time for each hour they worked.

Although Willis-Knighton lost water at most of its hospitals, making working conditions even more difficult, the general response of employees was phenomenal, as was that of the community. The health system relied on staff and community volunteers to help transport people to work and from work safely. Community organizations also provided water for the chillers to maintain the heating system in the hospitals and bottled water and meals for staff.

“I think this demonstrates that, at Willis-Knighton, we don’t just take care of patients, we take care of each other too,” Elrod said. “We are proud of our employees and equally proud of this wonderful community that stepped up to help out during this time,” Elrod said. “We know that everyone has made sacrifices during the past year, but we have seen the best of this community and have a renewed spirit of hope for the future.”