May 25, 2020

Labor and Employment: COVID-19 Bulletin

On March 12, 2020 Michigan joined Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico and West Virginia in closing all K-12 schools as part of a sweeping attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Many large urban school districts such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington D.C. have also been closed, with more expected to follow.

Michigan schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6. In the meantime, many employers are questioning how to handle their employees' unexpected need for childcare.

Michigan employers should be aware that under the state's Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA), eligible employees may use their accrued paid medical leave if they need to care for a child whose "school or place of care has been closed" due to a public health emergency. See MCL § 408.964(d). Employees may also use PMLA accrued leave if health authorities or health care providers have directed the employee or employee's family member to enter voluntary quarantine, even if the employee or family member has not actually contracted communicable disease. Such leave may also be used following the closure of an eligible employee's primary workplace in the event of a public health emergency.

As employers look for creative ways to adapt, some may be considering requests for onsite childcare, job sharing or flexible schedule arrangements. Each of these scenarios are accompanied by unique liabilities and legal considerations. 

© 2020 Varnum LLP

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About this Author

David E. Khorey, Labor Employment Attorney, Varnum, Workplace Confidentiality Matters Lawyer
Partner

Dave’s “client-centered” practice involves a variety of labor and employment issues. He provides practical and confidential ongoing advice and consulting on a number of sensitive and complex labor and employment matters, from problem employee situations to multi-facility collective bargaining negotiations. His representative clients include diverse industries (such as automotive, printing, transportation and hospitals) throughout the nation.  

Dave has also served as chair of the firm.

Honors & Recognitions...

616-336-6618
Maureen Rouse-Ayoub Labor Employment Attorney
Counsel

Maureen represents clients in all areas of labor and employment. She advises clients on labor management relations including union election proceedings, collective bargaining and contract enforcement in arbitration and before the National Labor Relations Board. Maureen defends employment-related claims including discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Whistleblowers' and Fair Labor Standards Act violations in federal and state courts, administrative proceedings and arbitration hearings. She counsels clients on drafting, implementation and enforcement of workplace policies. She has significant experience working with companies in a variety of industries including manufacturing, automotive, logistics and health care.

Maureen regularly writes and speaks on a variety of labor and employment matters. She is a frequent presenter for Michigan Chamber of Commerce programs.

248-567-7807