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MDHHS Issues Quarantine Designations for Essential Workers

Posted on January 25, 2021 by Herasanna Richards

Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has identified designations for certain critical workers to be exempted from the required quarantine period when exposed to COVID-19. View them here.

These clarifications were sought by the Michigan Municipal League and secured in the passage of PA 339 of 2020 during lame-duck last year. PA 339, with the designations from MDHHS, will give our member communities clear direction when it comes to implementing new state laws approved late last year.

Specifically, PA 238/339 provides legal protection for employees who are complying with quarantine or isolation guidelines and notes that they may not be “discharge[ed], discipline[d], or otherwise retaliate[d] against” by employers if they are complying with public health guidelines. In other words, employers cannot fire or otherwise retaliate against employees who do not come to work because they are in isolation or quarantine.

The law describes workers that may continue working if they are asymptomatic and follow safety precautions (monitoring, screening, cleaning, masking, etc.). Further, the law describes which workers are eligible to continue working and includes the ability of the DHHS Director to designate additional categories of workers. This guidance is available here. The additional types of workers include:

  • a 911 dispatcher
  • a public health professional
  • a worker in an election
  • a worker at a water, sewer, wastewater, or internet utility
  • a worker providing public works, which includes maintaining, repairing, and cleaning roads or refuse collection or disposal services.
  • a worker providing public transit services
  • a worker in a court of law
  • a funeral or medical examiner

These designations ONLY apply to quarantine exemptions for critical infrastructure workers, and do not apply to COVID-19 vaccine prioritization at this time.

Herasanna Richards is a legislative associate handling energy, environmental, elections, and external municipal services for the League. She can be reached at hrichards@mml.org or 517-908-0309.

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