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Michigan Legislature Approves Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Initiatives

September 6, 2018

On September 5, 2018, the Michigan legislature voted to pass two ballot initiatives: the Michigan One Fair Wage that would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour and eliminate the tipped minimum wage, and Michigan Time To Care, which would mandate that employers allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.

Currently, Michigan’s hourly minimum wage is $9.25. The new law would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $9.25 per hour to $10 in 2019, $10.65 in 2020, $11.35 in 2021 and $12 in 2022, with yearly inflationary adjustments afterward. It would also increase the tipped minimum wage from the current $3.52 per hour to $12 per hour by 2024. The paid sick leave law would require that workers earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees at businesses with at least 10 workers could use up to 72 hours of paid leave a year, unless an employer selects a higher limit. Those working for smaller employers could use up to 40 hours of paid time and another 32 hours of unpaid leave.

The passage of these initiatives is controversial because state lawmakers have indicated their intention to approve the proposals and then amend them following the election. Both issues had been approved for the upcoming November 6 ballot. However, by passing the initiatives prior to the election, they are no longer on the ballot and any amendments would require a simple legislative majority to amend. If Michigan citizens had voted in favor of the measures on the November ballot, it would have then required a three-quarters majority vote to approve any amendments. The actions by the legislature have been referred to as an “adopt and amend” strategy. Some groups have claimed that such actions are unconstitutional and have threatened legal action.

Barring any changes, the new laws will go into effect in March 2019.

Please contact your Varnum Labor and Employment attorney for more information.

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