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Michigan Anti-Retaliation COVID-19 Law Update

As of December 29, 2020, Michigan employers are no longer required to permit employees to self-quarantine for up to 14 days due to alleged close contact with an individual displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Recent amendments to Michigan’s Anti-Retaliation COVID-19 law reflect updated CDC guidance reducing the recommended length of quarantine for individuals who suspect exposure to COVID-19. Previous CDC guidance recommended that individuals quarantine for up to 14 days following close contact with an individual displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Now, the CDC recommends a 10-day quarantine, without testing or symptoms, and a 7-day quarantine with a negative diagnostic test and no symptoms, following close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The law still prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who are absent from work due to COVID-19.

In addition, the amendments add energy industry workers, who perform essential energy services to the list of exempted employees, which initially included health care workers, first responders, caregivers, and correctional employees. Employers may require exempted employees to participate in onsite operations when necessary, provided the individuals are not experiencing symptoms and have not tested positive for COVID-19. The law also permits the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to exempt workers identified as “necessary to ensure the continuation of essential public health services, or to avoid serious harm or danger to public health or public safety.”