How some workplaces will prepare to welcome employees back after coronavirus

Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 23:24:27-04

(WXYZ) — As Michigan rebounds, companies will start asking employees to return to workplaces. That could come with a lot of challenges, from a lack of childcare to someone at home recovering from the virus.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says workplace safety is a top priority as the state slowly re-opens the economy. She also said workers don't have to return if they don't feel safe. There are certain limits to that.

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"If you're completely healthy and you just want to stay home because you want to stay at home – which it can be understandable given the circumstances – but your employer can still compel you to come to the office unfortunately," Edgar Ndjatou, the executive director of Workplace Fairness, said.

He said the pandemic has brought out the best and worst in companies.

Some are not honoring long-standing employment laws or engaging in practices that are worker-friendly, but employers will ultimately be the ones required to meet new expectations.

That includes providing space compliant with social distancing measures in the workplace, protective equipment for workers and safety practices like temperature checks.

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"The employers that were honest about employees about the situation and what they can and can not do might find themselves in a better position as the economy starts to open up or take a turn for the better," he added.

Ndjatou thinks many employers will be empathetic and not try to rush people back and re-evaluate remote work opportunities.

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