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Employment Law Update: Developing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

Business Law COVID-19 Employment Law

Michigan’s stay at home order requires open in-person businesses to prepare a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.  Although the plan is currently required for COVID-19 any plan would also be useful for any future infectious disease preparedness.

Any plan should include the following:

  • Restrict the number of employees present on premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the in-person work permitted under the stay at home order. Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible;
  • Keep employees and customers who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible;
  • Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit employee and customer exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace;
  • Adopt policies to prevent employees from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19;
  • Adopt any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the CDC.
  • Identify sources of work-related exposure and health risks to employees;
  • Review policies and practices to ensure that they are consistent with governing law and public health guidance in terms of dealing with issues like absenteeism, social distancing, reduced workforces, and interrupted supply chains or delivery delays;
  • Explore whether it is possible to implement remote work conditions and flexible work hours, including staggered shifts, and canceling any nonessential travel;
  • Implement basic infection prevention measures, including hand washing requirements, encouraging employees to stay home when sick, encouraging respiratory etiquette, providing tissues and the like, discouraging shared equipment, and maintaining routine cleaning practices;
  • Develop policies and procedures for quick identification and isolation of sick employees;
  • Develop, implement, and communicate about the availability of flexible policies in the workplace regarding sick leave, including relaxing requirements for doctor’s notes, providing training, and working cooperatively with insurance companies; and
  • Implement workplace controls, including engineering controls to isolate employees from work-related hazards, administrative controls to change policies or procedures to reduce exposure, safe work practices, and use of PPE as needed.

The plan should be available either at your main office or on your employee intranet website.  Although Michigan’s Stay at Home Order remains in place until May 15th, more likely than not the requirement for open businesses to continue to abide by their COVID-19 preparedness and response plan will extend long after that date.  If you are dealing with any of these situations, please contact the employment and business attorneys at Shinners & Cook, P.C. to assist you with resolving your issues.