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Michigan Separation

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Michigan employers have certain obligations when workers leave employment.

Final Paycheck

Michigan requires that an employer provide an employee with their final paycheck by the next scheduled payday, or if they are working under contract, as soon as they can diligently determine the amount of pay owed. Employers must pay all wages earned and due to an employee engaged in any phase of the hand harvesting of crops within one working day of the termination.

Deceased Employees

Michigan employers must pay fringe benefits on behalf of a deceased employee according to the terms set forth in any written contract, policy, or plan. If the employee has established a designee in a signed statement with the employer prior to their death and letters of administration are not required to be issued for the estate of the deceased employment, then the employer can make payment to the designee in the signed statement. In the absence of a designee, payment of wages and fringe benefits not paid in accordance with a written contract, policy, or plan due to the employee must be paid according to the laws priority list, starting with the surviving spouse of the deceased employee.

Mich. Comp. Laws § 408.480

Paid Time Off and Vacation

Michigan does not require that vacation or other paid time off be paid out at termination. However, employers should adhere to any written or oral promises made with respect to the use of paid time off, including any policy or practice of paying out unused time.

Mich. Comp. Laws § 408.473

Employment at Will

Michigan is an employment-at-will state. This generally means that unless an employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement or other contract, a Michigan employer may terminate the employment of an employee as long as the employer does not violate any law prohibiting such termination. However, Michigan courts recognize the following exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine:

  • Public-Policy Exception. Under the public-policy exception, an employer may be liable for wrongful discharge if an employee is terminated in light of an explicit, well-established public policy prohibiting such conduct. An at-will employee’s discharge violates public policy if any one of the following occurs:

    • The employee is discharged in violation of an explicit legislative statement prohibiting discharge of employees who act in accordance with a statutory right or duty.

    • The employee is discharged for the failure or refusal to violate the law in the course of employment.

    • The employee is discharged for exercising a right conferred by a well-established legislative enactment.

  • Implied-Contract Exception. Under the implied-contract exception, oral or written representations made to an employee may be viewed by the courts as an implied contract, making the employer liable under a breach of contract theory for any representations that were not honored.

Job References

An employer may disclose to an employee or the employee’s prospective employer information relating to that employee’s job performance documented in their personnel file and upon the request of the employee or prospective employer. Employers that disclose information in good faith are generally immune from civil liability for the disclosure. Employers are presumed to be acting in good faith unless it can be established that:

  • The employer knew the information was false or misleading;

  • The employer disclosed the information with a reckless disregard for the truth; or

  • The disclosure was specifically prohibited by a state or federal statute.

Mich. Comp. Laws § 423.452

Unemployment Compensation Notice

An employer, other than an employer filing claims on behalf of workers in accordance with Rule 421.210, must provide each worker at the time of separation from employment a copy of form UA 1711, Unemployment Compensation Notice to Employee. However, this requirement is satisfied if the employer previously delivered a copy of the form to the worker or if the employer has by any other method provided the worker an equivalent written statement notifying the worker that:

  • If the worker loses form UA 1711 or the equivalent written notice from the employer, the worker may obtain a duplicate from a designated office in the establishment; and

  • The worker should have form UA 1711 or the equivalent written notice from the employer available for reference when filing a claim.

The form or equivalent written notice must contain:

  • The employer’s name and number of the employer’s account with the agency;

  • The address of the employer to which any request for wage or separation information, or both, will be directed; and

  • Such other information as is required by the agency.

Employers that fail to deliver the form UA 1711 will be ordered to do so by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency and may be required to pay a $10 penalty if the failure to comply continues.

Mich. Admin. Code r. 421.204

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