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Published on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Michigan Legislature Passes Minimum Wage Increase and Paid Time Off Legislation – But Not to Support the Causes

Last week the Michigan Legislature passed two new employment laws. One increases Michigan’s minimum wage to $12.00 over a period of four years, and the other requires Michigan employers to offer paid time-off benefits to employees. The laws were passed in quick order to ensure that these two laws did not go to ballot this November.  Doing so gives the Michigan Legislature power to amend the laws, which the backers of the ballot initiative did not want.State of Michigan gavel

If the Legislature did not move to enact these laws at this time, it would appear on the November ballot for popular vote. If in turn these laws were voted in, they could not be easily amended as they can now. If these laws were passed by popular vote any future amendment to these laws would have required a super-majority (3/4 of the legislators in each House) in the Legislature. The GOP side of the House and Senate would have had to persuade some Democrats to vote on amending one or both of the laws. With the passage of these two laws by legislative vote, the pro-business GOP can amend the laws by simple majority vote.

So what happens now?

Supporters of the minimum wage increase and paid time off requirement believe the Legislators, led by a Republican majority, will amend these laws to make them more acceptable to business.  They are currently stymied because neither initiative can go on the November ballot now.

The laws’ enactment is set for March 2019. This was done to allow time during the lame duck session of Michigan’s Legislature.

Because of the above, the Democrats and supporters of these laws are going to have to pursue their objections to this as political gamesmanship in court.

What the New Minimum Wage Law Does

“The Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (IWOA) primarily does two things: a) it raises the state’s general minimum wage, and b) it eventually eliminates the lower minimum wage for employees who typically receive tips, a/k/a "tip credits." The increases will be phased in over three years, as follows:


General Minimum Wage

Tipped Employees' Minimum Wage


$ 9.25

$ 3.52

January 1, 2019


$ 4.80

January 1, 2020


$ 6.39

January 1, 2021


$ 7.95

January 1, 2022


$ 9.60

January 1, 2023

COLA Increase

90% of General Minimum

January 1, 2024

COLA Increase

100% of General Minimum

*Dykema Gossett Labor and Employment Blog, Michigan Legislature Adopts Minimum Wage Increases and Paid Sick Leave: Political Poker Is Alive and Well in Michigan,  Posted on September 7, 2018 by Robert A. Boonin, Andrea M. Frailey

What the New Paid Time Off Law Does

With the passage of this law, Michigan joins a growing number of states and municipalities requiring employers to provide paid time off. Currently 11 other states and the District of Columbia have laws providing for paid time off, and this number is growing fast. In Michigan an employer with 10 or more employees must grant one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours the employee works. An employer with nine or less employees also is required to provide one hour of paid sick leave, but for every 40 hours of work. For the “large” employers (10 or more employees) paid time off will be capped at 72 hours per year. The small employers could cap their paid time off at 32 hours per year.

The paid sick leave will allow employees to use it under several situations:

  • Due to an employee or family member’s health condition or injury
  • Due to the employee’s family member’s treatment, services, relocation, or participation in criminal proceedings related to being a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault
  • Due to the closure of school or business because of a public health concern

While Republican legislators have not communicated what they would do to each of the laws to amend them yet, discussion is happening. Meanwhile supporters of the now passed laws have threatened to sue if the GOP led legislators initiate changes to the laws. They state amending the laws during a lame duck session would violate the Michigan Constitution. ASE will monitor developments and continue to report on these new laws. When the dust has settled, ASE will schedule a Hot Button Briefing to brief ASE members on what the laws will require employers to do. 


Sources: Seyfarth Shaw  Taking the Temperature of Sick Leave Laws Around the Country: Accrual Caps  09/10/2018. Dykema Gossett Labor and Employment Blog  Michigan Legislature Adopts Minimum Wage Increases and Paid Sick Leave: Political Poker Is Alive and Well in Michigan  Posted on September 7, 2018 by Robert A. Boonin, Andrea M. Frailey; GONGWER Question Turns To 'What's Next?' As Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time OK'd 9/5/2018

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