This past week the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its much-awaited decision on the fate of minimum wage and earned sick leave laws in the State of Michigan.
Recapping history, in 2018 two groups collected enough signatures via petition to force the legislature to enact a new law providing for mandatory employer paid sick leave benefits and minimum wage increases. Immediately thereafter, the legislature amended the measures, revising key provisions. The sponsoring groups then challenged the legislature’s actions in court. The Court of Claims heard the case, held that the “adopt and amend” procedure utilized by the legislature was unconstitutional, and restored the original version of the legislation effective February 20, 2023. That original version required all employers, large and small, to provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave to all employees and increased the minimum wage in Michigan to $12.00 with additional increases annually. It also eliminated the tip credit for tipped employees, bringing their minimum wage to $9.60 per hour. The Court of Claims decision was appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, who handed down their decision last week.
It is undisputed that the measures provided for in the original initiative would have added strains on small business owners, who are now breathing a sigh of relief as the Court of Appeals restored the amended version of the law which has been in place since 2019. In short, status quo was preserved, and no change is needed on the part of employers at this time. But the question is, for how long?
The Court of Appeals decision is sure to be appealed further to the Michigan Supreme Court and so the potential for reinstating the original ballot initiative as law is still very much alive, though kicked down the road a bit. At the heart of the issue is whether the legislature has the authority under the Michigan Constitution to amend laws initiated by the people. It’s a tough question to answer, and this lawyer is glad to not have to be responsible to do so. But rest assured, the Wright Beamer team will be keeping an eye on developments as they happen and will bring them to you as they do.
If you’d like more information about the earned sick leave and minimum wage laws in Michigan, give us a call. We are happy to help!