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Executive Directive 2020 - 04



No. 2020-4


To:       State Department Directors and Autonomous Agency Heads

From:  Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Date:   March 30, 2020

Re:       Moratorium on State Hiring, Creation of New Positions, Filling Vacant Positions, Transfers, and Promotions



On March 10, 2020, with Executive Order 2020-4, I declared a statewide state of emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”). This is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans, can easily spread from person to person, and can result in serious illness or death. There is currently no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for this disease.


In response to this pandemic, I have taken a series of significant and necessary actions to protect the health and safety of Michigan’s residents. These actions include the coordination of response activities through the State Emergency Operations Center and other measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, such as temporary restrictions on travel, gatherings, in-person work, and entry to places of public accommodation. These actions have provided essential protections to our state and its residents during this unprecedented public health crisis, but they carry with them unavoidable financial costs. The critical response activities undertaken by state departments and agencies will have a significant impact on the state budget. In addition, the necessary restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are expected to curtail economic activity in Michigan and substantially impact revenue collections by the state treasury. In anticipation of these impacts, state government must take action now to impose a moratorium on hiring, transfers, and promotions, to help ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic does as little harm as possible to both the public health and the fiscal health of this state.



Acting under sections 1 and 8 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, I direct the following:




  1. Given the severity of the fiscal challenges currently confronting state government due to the COVID-19 pandemic, departments and agencies within the executive branch of state government are prohibited from: hiring employees into the classified state civil service or into unclassified positions within the executive branch of state government; creating new positions within the classified state civil service or new unclassified positions; and filling new or existing vacant positions by external hire from outside of state government, transfer or promotion between state departments or agencies, or internal promotions within a department or agency.
  2. The state budget director, as appropriate, may grant exceptions to the moratorium imposed by this directive on a limited basis, if one or more of the following apply:
  1. The creation of a position or the filling of a vacant position is part of COVID-19 response activities necessary to address the emergency.


  1. The creation of a position or the filling of a vacant position by any method is required by specific legal mandate, federal mandate, or court order.


  1. The creation of a position or the filling of a vacant position by any method is critical to protecting the health, safety, or welfare of Michigan residents, including residents of a state institution or facility.


  1. The creation of a position or the filling of a vacant position by any method is necessary to produce budgetary savings, protect existing state revenue, or secure additional state revenue.
  1. To request an exception from the moratorium under section 2 of this directive, state departments and agencies must use forms and instructions issued by the state budget director.


  1. The moratorium imposed by this directive does not apply to appointments required by law.

This directive is effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.


I extend my sincere appreciation for your assistance in implementing this directive and for the continued hard work of state employees as we respond to this public health emergency and the state’s resulting fiscal challenges.