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Michigan Appeals Court Debates Adopt and Amend Strategy Impacting Minimum Wage and Paid Medical Leave

December 14, 2022

On December 13, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals heard arguments regarding the constitutionality of the legislative adopt and amend process that modified ballot proposals impacting Michigan’s minimum hourly wage rate and the Paid Medical Leave Act (“PMLA”) in the case of Mother Justice v. Nessel.  A decision was not expected and an opinion was not issued from the Bench. For now, nothing has changed, and the status of the law remains in a holding pattern presumably through February 19, 2023, pursuant to a stay entered earlier this year by the Court of Claims.  Regardless of which way the Court of Appeals rules, further challenges are expected. 

At the direction of the Court, the oral arguments focused on the constitutionality of the legislative action not the potential impact to Michigan businesses in the event the Court of Claims decision holding that adopting a proposal and amending the proposal during the same legislative term is unconstitutional. If upheld, the decision reinstates the minimum hourly wage rate increases and the Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”) as originally adopted. Both parties asked the Appellate panel to issue an opinion on this important topic by February 1, 2023. 

Varnum’s Labor & Employment team is closely monitoring the proceedings and is prepared to assist clients with preparation to comply and compliance when a final decision is issued. Please contact your Varnum Labor & Employment attorney with any questions.

First year associate Rebecca Fadler contributed to this advisory.

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