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Executive Directive 2020 - 11

Executive Directive


No. 2020-11

To:       State Department Directors and Autonomous Agency Heads

From:  Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Date:   October 22, 2020

Re:       Safeguards to protect state workplaces and employees from COVID-19



The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. A new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans causes the illness, which can easily spread from person to person. As of the date of this directive, there is no approved vaccine for this disease.

Throughout the past seven months, this state has witnessed firsthand the harm that COVID-19 can cause. Failure to follow proper distancing and mitigation measures can greatly exacerbate this harm. Moreover, workplaces that do not strictly adhere to the relevant guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and other public health agencies pose a significantly increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 among employees. And widespread transmission at work leads to increased community transmission.

The State of Michigan is one of the state’s largest employers, with approximately 50,000 active, full-time, classified employees. Many of these employees have been working remotely since the onset of this virus. Keeping state workplaces safe from COVID-19 is a top priority. To ensure we deliver on that obligation, this directive requires state departments and autonomous agencies to guard against the spread of COVID-19 in state workplaces, following applicable law and public health guidance.


Consistent with the above, and acting under sections 1 and 8 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, I direct the following:

  1. Each state department director (“director”) and autonomous agency head (“agency head”) must develop policies and procedures (“return-to-work policies”) to ensure compliance with guidance, regulations, and orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other agencies with authority to regulate the safety of state workplaces. Return-to-work policies must address, at a minimum, personal protection equipment, social distancing, cleaning, employee screening, procedures for returning employees to work areas, and communication to employees on policies.
  2. The Office of State Employer (“OSE”) is responsible for reviewing and approving return-to-work policies to ensure completeness and consistency with statewide policies, as appropriate, and for providing feedback in the event that such return-to-work policies are incomplete or inconsistent with statewide policies.
  3. Each director and agency head must submit an updated return-to-work policy to OSE no later than November 6, 2020. 
  4. OSE must complete its review of return-to-work policies no later than November 13, 2020.
  5. If OSE does not approve a return-to-work policy, the director or agency head must incorporate OSE’s feedback and submit a revised return-to-work policy as soon as practicable for approval.
  6. Each director and agency head must maintain an up-to-date return-to-work policy on their respective websites. OSE must maintain all up-to-date return-to-work policies on its website.
  7. Directors and agency heads have an ongoing responsibility to review and revise return-to-work policies and procedures to reflect changes in relevant law and guidance or as otherwise needed. A director or agency head must submit any subsequent plan modifications to OSE for review and approval.
  8. I request the Department of State and the Department of Attorney General follow this directive.
  9. Executive Directive 2020-2 is rescinded. Sections 1, 2, and 4 of Executive Directive 2020-6 are rescinded. References to COVID-19 executive orders in Executive Directive 2020-8 are rescinded. Executive Directives 2020-6 and 2020-8 otherwise remain in effect.

This directive is effective immediately.

Thank you for your cooperation in implementing this directive.