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Jun 2020
27
June 27, 2020

A Reminder Regarding Return to Work Plans

On June 18, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-127, extending the State of Emergency in Michigan through July 16, 2020. In that order Governor Whitmer stated, “On June 10, I moved the Upper Peninsula and the region surrounding Traverse City to Phase 5, allowing for the reopening of movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys and other businesses. If current trends persist, I hope to move the rest of the state to Phase 5 by July 4.” That simple statement gave some hope that more of the requirements in the various Executive Orders would be eased this week. Unfortunately, the recent spike in Michigan cases prompted the Governor to declare on June 24, 2020, that the rest of the state would not be moving to Phase 5 this week. Currently, the state’s website shows the Upper Peninsula and a portion of the northern Lower Peninsula to be in Phase 5 (low risk) and the rest of the state in Phase 4 (medium risk).   
 
This has caused some confusion about employees returning to the office. The following is a recap of Michigan’s current status regarding returning to work.
 
  • Executive Order 2020-110, which is still operative for most of the Lower Peninsula says:
    • Any work that is capable of being performed remotely (i.e., without the worker leaving his or her home or place of residence) must be performed remotely
  • If you have work that cannot be performed from home, you must follow the safeguards for your particular industry, contained in Executive Order 2020-114 (the Order). These safeguards are too extensive for full coverage here, but note that the Order directs you to:
    • Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations contained in “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and available here.
    • Within two weeks of resuming in-person activities, a business’s or operation’s plan must be made readily available to employees, labor unions and customers, whether via website, internal network or by hard copy.
 
The Order also directs employers to provide to their employees COVID-19 training that covers, at a minimum:
 
  • Workplace infection-control practices.
  • The proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Steps the employee must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • How to report unsafe working conditions.
 
Most of you are familiar with these directions by now, but if you still need to develop a preparedness plan, or if you need the materials for employee training, Warner can help. Contact your Warner attorney or any member of Warner’s Labor and Employment Practice Group.
 

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