Governor Whitmer maintains protections for Michigan workers during pandemic

Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a Michigan coronavirus news conference on Aug. 14, 2020. (Courtesy: Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-172, which prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or retaliating against employees who make the responsible choice to stay home when they or their close contacts are sick. 

The order, protecting employees who stay home when sick from retaliation, comes at a critical time when unemployed and underemployed workers face uncertainty after the Trump Administration allowed the $600 pandemic unemployment benefit to expire. 

The governor’s order clarifies when a worker has the principal symptoms of COVID-19 so that workers who have a known medical or physical condition causing their symptoms need not stay home.  

“Every hardworking Michigander should feel empowered to make the responsible choice and stay home if they or someone they have been in contact with is sick,” said Governor Whitmer. “COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our families, our frontline workers, and our economy, and it’s crucial that anyone who experiences any of the symptoms of this virus stay home. These protections will help to slow the spread of the virus and save lives, but we still need the federal government to work together in a bipartisan way to expand unemployment benefits and provide support for our workers and their families.”   

Under Executive Order 2020-172, employers must treat employees who stay home when they are sick as if he or she were taking medical leave. Any and all Michiganders who test positive for COVID-19 or who display one or more of the principal symptoms should stay home.

Executive Order 2020-172 clarifies that a worker should stay home if they have any one of the following not explained by a known medical or physical condition: a fever, an uncontrolled cough, and shortness of breath; or at least two of the following not explained by a known medical or physical condition: loss of taste or smell, muscle aches (“myalgia”), sore throat, severe headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.  

Individuals must remain home until 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without medication or 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared or were tested positive. 

As a rule, if an individual has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or has had close contact with a confirmed positive case they should only leave their home for essential trips, to obtain food, medicine, or medical care. Additionally, they may leave to partake in an outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity consistent with remaining at least six feet from others.   

To view Executive Order 2020-172, click the link below: EO 2020-172 Emerg order – workers protections – reissue.pdf

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