On March 26, 2019 Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that her office will not issue an opinion regarding the constitutionality of the Michigan Legislature’s actions in adopting and amending the paid sick leave and minimum wage ballot proposals while the matter is pending in the courts. Although the Michigan Supreme Court has been asked by the Michigan Legislature to issue an advisory opinion, the court has not yet done so and historically has avoided doing so until the issue has gone through normal legal channels. Thus, unless the Supreme Court makes a surprise ruling in the next two days, both the Paid Medical Leave Act and the new minimum wage of $9.45 per hour will go into effect as planned on Friday, March 29, 2019.
The Time to Care and One Fair Wage advocacy groups – initiators behind the ballot proposals – filed a brief recently asking the Michigan Supreme Court to issue an opinion on the constitutionality of the Michigan Legislature’s actions. If the court declines to rule on the issue, the advocacy groups have indicated that they will either consider filing a separate lawsuit or renewing their appeal to Attorney General Nessel for an opinion. Without an opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court, lengthy litigation is likely to ensue.
While it is too soon to tell whether these laws are set in stone, employers should be prepared to implement the new Paid Medical Leave Act and minimum wage provisions by this Friday, March 29. Please contact one of Varnum’s Labor and Employment attorneys if you have any questions about this issue or require assistance in updating your employment policies or wage practices.