DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is delaying by three months return-to-work plans for most of its U.S. salaried employees amid a surge in virus cases in Michigan.
The automaker previously planned to allow non-place-dependent workers the opportunity to return to the office starting in July and confirmed the timing as recently as last month when it announced a new hybrid work model.
Those plans changed this week after the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration extended emergency rules set to expire this week that banned nonessential in-person office work. The ban now extends until Oct. 14 but can be modified or withdrawn at any time.
"The health and safety of our team is our first priority," Ford said in a statement. "Local guidelines continue to inform our return-to-workplace protocols and given the announcement by the state of Michigan, we will delay the gradual return to campus we had planned with our hybrid work model from July to October for non-place-dependent workers."
Ford said last month it still has 30,000 employees in North America who are working remotely full time. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Michigan, where Ford is headquartered.
General Motors, also based in Michigan, said it plans to begin adding more workers to offices around July.
"We’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep our employees informed," spokesman David Caldwell said in an email. "We’re complying with all applicable government requirements."
He stressed that GM already has thousands coming into physical workplaces now, while adding that the company's remote-work arrangements have proven effective.
"Our goal is to combine the best of both worlds – in-person collaboration with the added flexibility enabled by remote work," Caldwell said.
Hannah Lutz contributed to this report.