Executive Order 2020-79 (COVID-19)



No. 2020-79


Temporary suspension of youth work permit application requirements


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans and easily spread from person to person. There is currently no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for this disease.


On March 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services identified the first two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. On that same day, I issued Executive Order 2020-4. This order declared a state of emergency across the state of Michigan under section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Emergency Management Act, 1976 PA 390, as amended, MCL 30.401 et seq., and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, 1945 PA 302, as amended, MCL 10.31 et seq.


Since then, the virus spread across Michigan, bringing deaths in the thousands, confirmed cases in the tens of thousands, and deep disruption to this state’s economy, homes, and educational, civic, social, and religious institutions. On April 1, 2020, in response to the widespread and severe health, economic, and social harms posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I issued Executive Order 2020-33. This order expanded on Executive Order 2020-4 and declared both a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the State of Michigan under section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Emergency Management Act, and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. And on April 30, 2020, finding that COVID-19 had created emergency and disaster conditions across the State of Michigan, I issued Executive Order 2020-67 to continue the emergency declaration under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act, as well as Executive Order 2020-68 to issue new emergency and disaster declarations under the Emergency Management Act.


The Emergency Management Act vests the governor with broad powers and duties to “cop[e] with dangers to this state or the people of this state presented by a disaster or emergency,” which the governor may implement through “executive orders, proclamations, and directives having the force and effect of law.” MCL 30.403(1)–(2). Similarly, the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 provides that, after declaring a state of emergency, “the governor may promulgate reasonable orders, rules, and regulations as he


or she considers necessary to protect life and property or to bring the emergency situation within the affected area under control.” MCL 10.31(1).




Every summer, many of our state’s young residents seek employment in order to earn money, gain valuable work experience, and contribute to the state economy. Compliance with certain procedures related to obtaining work permits and supporting documentation from school personnel has become prohibitively difficult with school buildings being closed for instructional purposes. Young Michiganders constitute an important part of the summer workforce, especially because the COVID-19 pandemic requires that many workers stay home when experiencing symptoms or because they are part of a vulnerable population. To ensure the availability of youth workforce, and to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, protect public health, and provide protections to vulnerable Michiganders of all ages, it is reasonable and necessary to temporarily suspend certain requirements related to obtaining work permits for youth workers.


Acting under the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and Michigan law, I order the following:


  1. Strict compliance with section 5 of the Youth Employment Standards Act, 1978 PA 90, MCL 409.105, is temporarily suspended to the extent it requires an application of a work permit to be made in person. An issuing officer may accept and examine a work permit application (including any accompanying materials) submitted by alternative means including mail, e-mail, fax, or web-based form. Issuing officers must make information on how such application materials may be submitted publicly available.
  2. Strict compliance with section 6 of the Youth Employment Standards Act, MCL 409.106 is temporarily suspended such that the color of work permits for minors under 16 years of age does not need to be distinct from that of work permits for minors 16 years of age and over.
  3. This order is effective immediately and continues through June 8, 2020 at 11:59 pm.


Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Michigan.