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Michigan Court Revives Original Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Laws

A Michigan court has ruled that the 2018 amendments the state legislature made to the citizen initiatives for increased minimum wage and paid sick leave were unconstitutional. According to the court, the amendments are voided and the laws as adopted by the citizen initiatives are in effect.

It’s expected that there will be a quick appeal of this decision and a request to stay the ruling. A stay means the outcome of the ruling—in this case, reviving the citizen initiative versions of these laws— would not happen immediately. If you are trying to determine whether to make immediate changes based on this ruling, we recommend contacting an attorney.

As a refresher, and possibly a look at what’s to come, the unamended citizen initiatives did the following (this is not an exhaustive list of differences):

  • Increased the minimum wage to $12 by January 1, 2022, and tied it to inflation each year after that.

  • Phased out the tip credit. In 2022, employers would need to provide tipped employees with a base pay of 80% of the state’s minimum wage. This would increase to 90% in 2023, and 100% in 2024.

  • Entitled all but federal employees to earn and use paid sick leave.

  • Required almost all employers to provide paid sick leave, not just those with 50 or more employees.

  • Required that employees earn sick leave at a rate of 1 hour per 30 worked, instead of 1 per 35.

  • Required that employees be able to use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave and 32 hours of unpaid sick leave per year if they work for an employer with 9 or fewer employees.

  • Required that employees be able to use up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year if they work for an employer with 10 or more employees.

  • Prohibited retaliation against employees for using sick leave.

We are monitoring this case and will let you know if a stay is issued or if it becomes apparent that the unamended citizens’ version of these laws will be enforced by the state. You can also keep an eye on the Michigan Department of Labor and Opportunity’s minimum wage and overtime page and its Paid Medical Leave Act page, to see if anything is announced or updated.

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