Bill Package Amends and Repeals Certain COVID-19 Workplace Provisions

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a bill package into law that will amend and repeal some COVID-19-era laws, including the Michigan COVID-19 Employment Rights Act. With this change, workers may not use the Act as a basis for lawsuits after specified dates.

COVID-19 Employment Rights Act

Enacted in October of 2020, the COVID-19 Employment Rights Act (Public Act 238 of 2020) prohibited employees with symptoms of the virus from reporting to work. In addition, a worker experiencing any of the principal symptoms of COVID-19 or those who were identified as close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 were required to stay home until the employee met quarantine or isolation guidelines. The Act also prohibited employers from disciplining, firing, or retaliating against workers who did not report to work due to COVID-19-related circumstances.

What is the amendment to the COVID-19 Employment Rights Act?

The first bill in the package amends the Employment Rights Act to specify that the Act would not apply to a claim or cause of action that occurred after July 1, 2022. This means that until July 1, 2023 employers may still be sued for an event that was protected under the COVID-19 Employment Rights Act that occurred before July 1, 2022.

What are the other amendments?

In addition, a section of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act was also amended to specify that certain conditions establishing immunity for employers whose employees were exposed to COVID-19 would not apply to an exposure that occurred after July 1, 2022.

And, another bill amends the COVID-19 Response and Reopening Liability Assurance Act to specify that the Act, which provides immunity to a person that acts in compliance with certain Federal, State, and local orders related to COVID-19, would not apply to a claim or cause of action that accrued after July 1, 2022.

All three bills listed above repealed their respective acts, effective July 1, 2023.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions regarding COVID-19 and the law. For more information, call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

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