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State Shares Recommendations for Offices as People Return to Work

State Shares Recommendations for Offices as People Return to Work

(State of Michigan, April 29, 2021)

Lansing, MI – The State’s Return-to-Office Workgroup has provided Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with their recommendations for how employers can begin to plan for a safe, phased reopening of offices.

Among the Workgroup’s recommendations were the following for employers:

Employers – Reducing Office Density:

~Focus on task-based collaboration and specific needs for in-person work while allowing other tasks and teamwork to be completed remotely when feasible.

~Consider utilizing hybrid work strategies to promote social distancing.

Employers – Addressing Operational Obstacles:

~Daily Health Screenings – stagger entry times to avoid congregation at screening checkpoints, consider using screening apps to provide prior to entry.

~Entry/exit through common entrances and elevators – stagger start and end times as practical to avoid congregation.

Employers – Quarantine, Isolation and Testing Guidelines:

~Ensure policy clearly articulates the ability of employees to quarantine/isolate/test without risk of job loss.

~Promote the use of sick leave tax credits available for employers with 500 or fewer employees to provide paid leave.

Employers – Caregiving Resources for Employees:

~Establish a return policy that provides employees with caregiving obligations to continue remote work regardless of the cohort group returning, including caregiving of immuno-compromised persons.

~Promote the use of family leave tax credits available for employers with 500 or fewer employees to provide paid leave.

Employers – Vaccines:

~Provide up-to-date information to employees on the vaccines.

~Provide links to vaccination sites/sign-up information.

~Consider partnering where possible with local public health to offer on-site vaccination.

~Add COVID-19 vaccination to existing wellness programs and benchmarks.

These recommendations come at a time when workplace safety remains a concern. As reported to MDHHS by local public health departments, office workplaces had 385 COVID-19 outbreaks from September 3, 2020 through April 22, 2021, making office settings the fifth highest for outbreaks among the 22 settings being reported. This data demonstrates the need for a strong partnership between diverse stakeholders and subject matter experts who can help develop a phased return-to-office work strategy that ensures the protection of Michiganders.

To learn more about the efforts to support a safe reopening in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety.

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