Legislation pushed by MITA that brings state law regarding employer liability protection from COVID-19 related employment disputes up to speed with CDC guidelines for critical infrastructure employees passed the Legislature and was signed into law just as the lame duck legislative session came to a close. Senate Bill 1258, found here, specifically deals with “quarantine time” if an employee is exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual. The original state law contradicted CDC guidelines because it did not recognize protocols for critical infrastructure employees who may have been exposed.
The original law that passed and went into effect in October prohibits an employee who has had close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID or displays the principal symptoms of COVID from reporting to work until one of the following conditions is met: (1) 14 days have passed since the employee last had close contact with the individual; or (2) The individual that the employee had close contact with receives a medical determination that he or she did not have COVID-19 at the time of that contact.
After much deliberation over the past six weeks between legislative leaders, the Governor’s staff and MITA representatives, legislation passed that now defines the “quarantine period” as that which is prescribed in the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines regarding COVID-19 for critical infrastructure employees.
Those CDC guidelines have been the benchmark for infrastructure employers across the nation, and they allow for an exposed employee to return to work if they show no symptoms and are closely monitored for any symptoms. And although this legislation was originally written to protect employers against COVID related lawsuits stemming from a firing or other disciplinary actions against an employee, this updated law brings about consistency for Michigan’s heavy construction industry.
It is also important to note that this latest version of the law is retroactive back to March 2020. As the recommendations continue to get updated, MITA staff will update the membership as appropriate.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lance Binoniemi, Vice President of Government Affairs, at email@example.com. They both can be reached at 517-347-8336