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MIOSHA Increases COVID-19 Workplace Safety Enforcement Measures

November 12, 2020

Governor Whitmer recently announced that the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) would be ramping up its enforcement efforts of the October 14, 2020 MIOSHA Emergency Rules on COVID-19.  These new efforts will prioritize office workplace safety and compliance with the Rules’ prohibition on in-person work unless remote work is not feasible.  MIOSHA also requires a remote work policy in addition to (or as part of) a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. 

Concurrently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) clarified the Rules’ prohibition of in-person work.  New MDHHS guidance states: “[E]mployers should only permit in-person work when attendance is strictly required to perform job duties.”  In-person work is no longer permitted on the basis of decreased productivity, decreased efficiency, or increased costs associated with remote work.  Now, employees may only work in the office if they are “unable to physically complete” their job tasks remotely, such as for “a job involving protected data that cannot be accessed remotely.” 

Michigan guidance for employers 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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