27 Jul MICHIGAN COURT OF CLAIMS RESTORES TWO PUBLIC ACTS THAT COULD INCREASE THE MINIMUM WAGE AND PAID SICK LEAVE
On Friday, July 29, the Court of Claims agreed to stay enforcement of its July 19, 2022, order until February 19, 2023. This means that, for now, employers can continue their current minimum wage and paid sick leave practices. Our law office will continue to monitor this situation.
Back in 2018, Michigan voters presented the legislature with a pair of significant ballot proposals. One sought to increase Michigan’s minimum wage, while the other required paid sick leave for employees. Michigan law permits the legislature to adopt such voter initiatives, reject them, or propose alternatives before the proposals are voted on in the general election. In this instance, then‑Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican‑controlled legislature adopted the two ballot proposals into law and subsequently passed separate bills which substantially revised them. Regarding Michigan’s minimum wage, the original initiative’s requirement of a $12 minimum wage by January 2022 (with inflation adjustments) was pushed back to 2030 and the inflation adjustments were removed. Likewise, the paid sick leave initiative’s requirement for businesses with at least 10 employees to provide up to 72 hours of annual sick leave was amended to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees, and the 72-hour requirement was lowered to 40. The foregoing amendments have been settled law in Michigan for the past 4 years.
Against this backdrop, Michigan’s Court of Claims recently ruled the amendments to the 2018 ballot proposals are unconstitutional. According to the Court’s July 19, 2022, opinion, Michigan’s Constitution does not permit the “adopt and amend” strategy employed by the legislature in 2018. The opinion “voids” the 2018 amendments and orders the immediate restoration of the adopted voter initiatives. However, attorneys for the State of Michigan immediately appealed the Court of Claim’s order and filed a separate motion to prevent it from being enforced while the appeal is pending. The case will next head to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Our law office will monitor this situation moving forward. If the State’s motion for stay is denied, the Court of Claims’ order would go into effect as early as August 9 and would require employers to immediately increase their wages and provide increased paid leave hours in accordance with the original initiatives. Employers seeking more information should contact the Masud Labor Law Group with any questions.