Whitmer order prohibits employers from disciplining employees for staying home if exposed to coronavirus

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click to enlarge Whitmer order prohibits employers from disciplining employees for staying home if exposed to coronavirus
Courtesy of Gov. Whitmer's office

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that prohibits employers from firing or retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or someone close to them tests positive for COVID-19 or exhibits its symptoms.

The order tightens the stay-at-home rule by requiring all residents who test positive, show symptoms, or come in close contact with someone that does stay at home unless necessary.

Employers must treat those employees as if they were taking medical leave, which may be unpaid if the employee has no paid leave time.

Impacted employees can take leave up to three days after symptoms stop and seven days after their first symptoms appeared or they tested positive.

The order takes effect immediately through the end of the declared emergency.

“People who are prioritizing the health and safety of their families, neighbors, and loved ones during this crisis should not be punished by their workplace,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“Staying home and staying safe is one of the most important things we can do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, and this executive order will ensure more people can do so without facing discrimination from their workplace. We have taken aggressive measures to protect our communities, but it’s on all of us to work together to fight this virus.”

Those who test positive for COVID-19 or who show a symptom including fever, cough, and shortness of breath must stay at home.

“Ensuring those who experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 and the people they live with remain in their homes will help mitigate community spread,” Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun said in a statement. “It’s crucial that anyone experiencing symptoms, and those they live with, stay home and stay safe.”

Close contacts of someone with symptoms or who’s tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days or unless that person tests negative for COVID-19.

Health care professionals, first responders, child protective service employees, childcare workers, and correctional officers are exempt from the 14-day rule.

The order exempts leaving home for necessary travel to get food, medicine and outdoor exercise.

Those who leave home should stay at least six feet from others.

Symptomatic people and their close contacts who leave home should wear a homemade mask.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday night enacted up to a $1,000 civil fine for violating the stay-at-home order.

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