New COVID-19 Testing Required for Agricultural & Food Processing Workers

September 18, 2020 - minute read

Listen up, employers: Michigan just issued an emergency order requiring workers in the agricultural and food processing industries to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing. Regardless of your state, both industries are witnessing a significant shift in operational standards at this time, so preparing for similar legislation to reach your state may be beneficial.

Michigan’s emergency order applies to:

  • Meat, poultry, and egg processing facilities;
  • Migrant housing camp operators;
  • Employers of migrant or seasonal workers with more than 20 employees on-site at a time; and
  • Greenhouses with more than 20 employees on-site at a time.

As outbreaks continue to get linked to food processing plants, this new reality requires extra tight testing requirements and compliance on the part of employers to prevent exposure as much as possible. After all, this emergency order is not the first and likely won’t be last order to combat this issue head on. For more information on mapping COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the food system, click here.

Now let’s discuss the requirements and implications for your operation.

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Requirements for Providing COVID-19 Testing

Given the significant risk that COVID-19 outbreaks in a migrant housing facility and agriculture facilities, you must manage routine testing in order to properly comply with this new ordinance, as well as to effectively protect your employees and the greater population at large.

According to the rule, employers and housing operators should have completed a plan by August 10 and started baseline testing and implementation of ongoing testing by August 24 in order to comply with the executive order. That said, if you haven’t taken all the proper steps, now is the time. As stated in the executive order and memorandum, the following requirements for appropriate testing procedures are as follows:

Requirements for agricultural employers with over 20 employees on-site at a time:

  • One-time baseline testing of all workers
  • Testing of all new workers prior to any in-person work
  • Testing of any worker with symptoms or exposure

Requirements for migrant housing camp operators:

  • One-time baseline testing of all residents ages 18 and over
  • Testing of all new residents with 48 hours of arrival, with separate housing for newly arriving residents for 14 days and a second test 10 to 14 days after arrival
  • Testing of any resident with symptoms or exposure

Check out the Agricultural Testing Implementation Guidance for in-depth assistance on meeting these requirements, upholding compliant test standards, creating facility-managed programs for testing, requesting state assistance, and other community testing resources.

Human Resource Management for the Agriculture Industry

For employers in the agricultural and food-processing industries, HR challenges are a constant reality—along with mounting financial and operational pressures. Managing with the right HR solution in place can make a huge difference!

EPAY Systems’ full Human Capital Management system is designed to help manage evolving hourly workforces like yours—especially in the wake of COVID-19. Our solution can help you track, manage, and pay your workers efficiently, streamline operations, and cut waste in your labor costs. All while keeping your organization compliant and your people healthy and safe.

 Want to see our solution in action? Watch our 2-minute tour or read 6 Ways to Tell if EPAY HCM is a Good Match for Your Business.