Detroit Regional Chamber > Three Steps for Non-Critical Businesses to Designate Essential Staff

Three Steps for Non-Critical Businesses to Designate Essential Staff

March 24, 2020
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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives” order requires all businesses deemed nonessential to halt in-person work starting March 24. This will force some businesses to temporarily close, and others to allow employees to work remotely.

However, not all employees are banned from the workplace. If your business is considered nonessential, the governor’s order specifies that you can designate an essential staff necessary to conduct minimum basic operations in person.

Here’s how to designate essential personnel following the governor’s orders while maintaining the health and safety of staff.

1. Determine Your Essential Staff

Many tasks can be completed from home. You should consider only staff members that are essential to run critical operations and must be on-site to perform their job functions. These include maintaining the value of inventory and equipment, caring for animals, ensuring security, and processing transactions such as payroll and benefits.

2. Officiate in Writing

After determining your essential staff, inform these individuals in writing to ensure a paper trail. The governor’s executive order indicates that businesses must make their designations in writing by electronic message, public website, or other means by March 31 at 11:59 p.m. While the governor’s office has not confirmed if or how they will check this documentation, a paper trail is important to verify your company took the proper precautions.

You may also want to create personal identification cards or documents for essential staff to keep on their person in case law enforcement or anyone needs verification. Though this is unlikely, taking preventative measures will help ensure the safety of your staff.

3. Create a Plan

Keep your staff informed about who is given permission to enter the workplace and create a plan of action to ensure that everyone knows how to proceed safely and efficiently.

Examine how essential staff can undertake those tasks safely while observing social distancing in your workplace. This may require placing a cap on the number of employees allowed in the workplace at a time or enforcing person-to-person distance rules and disinfecting procedures.

For questions on determining essential staff, please contact Brad Williams at

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