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Michigan Enacts New Legislation Regarding COVID-19 in the Workplace

November 6, 2020

Recently, Michigan enacted new COVID-19 legislation that Michigan employers must be aware of in dealing with COVID-19-positive, symptomatic, and exposed employees whose primary workplace is not their residence.  This new law recreates certain aspects of Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders that were struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court, and it provides additional requirements beyond those contained in the recent emergency rules issued by MIOSHA (summarized here).     

Under the new law, employees who test positive for or display the principal symptoms of COVID-19 must not report to work until all of the following conditions are met: (a) if the employee had a fever, 24 hours have passed since the fever ended without the use of medication; (b) 10 days have passed since the employee’s first symptom or positive test; and (c) the employee’s symptoms have improved.  

Similarly, employees who were in “close contact” with an individual who tests positive for or displays the principal symptoms of COVID-19 must not report to work until one of the following conditions is met: (a) 14 days have passed since the employee last had close contact with the individual; or (b) the individual with whom the employee had close contact receives a medical determination that they did not have COVID-19 at the time of the close contact with the employee.  “Close contact” is defined as “being within approximately 6 feet of an individual for 15 minutes or longer.”  Notably, this portion of the statute does not apply to health care professionals, first responders, child protective service employees, or workers at health care facilities, child caring institutions, adult foster care facilities, or correctional facilities. 

Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against employees who comply with the requirements of this law, oppose a violation of this statute, or report health violations related to COVID-19.  Employees lose that protection, however, if, after displaying the principal symptoms of COVID-19, they fail to make reasonable efforts to schedule a COVID-19 test within 3 days after their employer requests that they get tested.

Michigan guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic is complex and changing rapidly.  If you have questions about this or any other workforce issue, please do not hesitate to contact your relationship attorney or one of Honigman’s Labor & Employment attorneys.

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