Do Michigan workplace COVID rules mean employees can’t go back to in-person work?

Employers must implement policies that require remote work where feasible

A woman and her daughter working and attending school remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (David Goldman, Copyright 2020 Associated Press)

LANSING, Mich. – Does the extension of Michigan’s emergency COVID-19 workplace rules mean all employees have to work remotely for another six months?

It’s a common point of confusion for many Michiganders. These rules don’t ban employees from returning to the workplace, however, they do require employers to give workers that option, when possible.

Here is the exact wording in the MIOSHA release:

“Under the emergency rules, employers must continue to implement policies that require remote work for employees where remote work is feasible, to help ensure that COVID-19 transmission is mitigated to the maximum extent possible. While in-person work is permitted when remote work is not feasible, remote work is recommended as a strategy to minimize in-person contacts and is included in guidance from the CDC and Federal OSHA to protect employees in the workplace.”

Essentially, it means if someone can perform a job remotely, that’s what they should do for the next six months.

As of now, this extension is in effect until Oct. 14, 2021. But the rules can be adjusted or withdrawn at any time, officials said. The original order was scheduled to expire Wednesday (April 14).

Any business that resumes or continues in-person work has to follow these protocols:

  • Maintain a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.
  • Provide thorough training to employees.
  • Cover workplace infection control practices.
  • Teach employees how to use personal protection equipment.
  • Outline steps for employees to notify the business about COVID-19 symptoms or infections.
  • Make sure employees know how to report unsafe working conditions.

“MIOSHA’s emergency rules help keep us all safe by ensuring that employers implement common sense safety standards to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “When employers maintain a safe workplace, that gives workers and consumers the confidence to keep our economy moving.”

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.