A note to Michigan employers and employees: Governor Whitmer’s recent Executive Order 2020-36 expands on Michigan public policy relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Order, employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against an employee for missing work when that employee (or someone with whom the employee has had “close contact”) has tested positive for COVID-19 or displays “one or more of the principal symptoms of COVID-19,” being fever, atypical cough, or atypical shortness of breath. Under the Order, “close contact” is “being within approximately 6 feet of an individual for a prolonged period of time,” including caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting room with an affected individual.
Employees meeting those criteria are instructed to stay home until: (1) three days after symptoms resolve; (2) seven days after symptoms first appeared (or the COVID-19 test was administered); or (3) fourteen days have passed since the last close contact with a sick or symptomatic individual. Employers are instructed to treat the employee as “taking medical leave,” and to pay the employee where paid leave is available. If paid leave is not available, the leave may be unpaid.
Employers are not prohibited from discharging or disciplining an employee who tests negative (or who has recovered under the timeframes provided) and declines to return to work. This Order also does not apply to health care professionals, child protective services, first responders, child care institutions, or workers at correctional facilities.
If you have questions or concerns about how Executive Order 2020-36 may apply to you or your business, we are available to provide guidance. Please call us at (517) 351-3550.