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Guidance on Governor Executive Order 2020-36

Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-36 on Friday, April 3, 2020, that effectively orders individuals to stay in their place of residence who have either:

1) tested positive for COVID-19;

2) displayed one or more of the "principal symptoms of COVID-19";

3) has had close contact (within 6 feet for a prolonged period of time) with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19; or

4) an individual who displays one or more of the "principal symptoms" of COVID-19.

"Principal symptoms of COVID-19" are defined to include a "fever, atypical cough, or atypical shortness of breath". These quarantines are ordered, even if another Executive Order permits the individuals to leave their home.

Individuals quarantined due to reasons 1 and 2 above shall stay home until "three days have passed since their symptoms have resolved", and "seven days have passed since their symptoms first appeared or since they were swabbed for the test that yielded the positive result." For quarantine reason number 2 above, the quarantine is lifted once the individual receives a negative COVID-19 test. Individuals quarantined under reasons 3 and 4 above shall stay home "until either 14 days have passed since the last close contact with the sick or symptomatic individual, or the symptomatic individual receives a negative COVID-19 test." Reasons 3 and 4 above do not apply to Employees in health care, child protective services, child care, correctional facilities, and first responders.

Employers of any size are prohibited from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an Employee who is quarantined to stay home. Employers must treat these Employees as if they were on medical leave under Michigan's Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA), for as long as quarantined. The PMLA allows Employees to accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours of work, which an Employer can cap at 40 hours per year.

However, under the Executive Order 2020-36, if a quarantined Employee does not have paid leave, the quarantined leave can be unpaid. Employers are also allowed to debit any hours off work from a quarantined Employee's accrued leave. Employers may discipline Employees for failing to return to work if they decline once the quarantine is over or other lawful reason. Employees cannot sue for a violation of the Executive Order, but may file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity within six months of the violation.

If you have any questions regarding your rights as an employee considering the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact our law firm at (313) 964-4454 for a free consultation.

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