LANSING, Mich. — Michigan has established a new Return-to-Office workgroup to help employers and workers prepare to return to in-person office work in some form as vaccine distribution ramps up.
The workgroup consists of business, labor and public health experts who will provide Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with recommendations, according to a news release Monday.
Those recommendations will then be used to inform Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders and MIOSHA rules, as well as standards and best practices for employers to use in planning their own phased reopening.
Workplace safety remains a concern even as COVID-19 cases are down from their winter peak, as office workplaces have had 275 outbreaks over the last six months – sixth among all settings.
“Our priority remains the health and safety of Michigan workers and workplaces,” said Sean Egan, Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director. “Congregation in any setting creates risk, employers have implemented innovative approaches to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and bringing this new group together will provide a mechanism to capture key insights to align policies with best practices and health guidance.”
The advisory group will provide ongoing guidance and will meet weekly with their first meeting scheduled for March 18.
State officials will also consult state legislators regarding the phased-in return to in-person office work.
Current state rules require employers to develop policies to determine whether remote work for employees is feasible to help ensure that COVID-19 transmission is mitigated to the maximum extent possible.
The rules don’t prohibit in-person work, but rather use remote work as a strategy to minimize in-person contacts.
An extension of the emergency rules is expected, though the state will soon begin formal rulemaking for COVID-19 workplace safety.
A live Q&A session about the workgroup will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m.