August 2022: Michigan Court of Claims Delay Enforcement of Ruling for Sick Leave Rights 

01 Aug

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Update Applicable to: 
All employers in the state of Michigan.

What happened?
In a previous communication, we notified you that the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that the “adopt-and-amend” strategy in Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) violates the Michigan Constitution and ordered the voter-initiated proposals remain in effect without amendment. This is an update to that previous communication.

What are the details? 
In May 2021, Mothering Justice – an advocacy group for mothers – and certain other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims to invalidate the Michigan PMLA (Renamed from the Earned Sick Time Act) and amend the Improved Workforce Opportunity Act (IWOWA)

Michigan employers will have to pay a minimum wage of at least $12 an hour and provide expanded sick leave rights to all employees starting February 19, 2023, as the Michigan Court of Claims said it would delay enforcement of a recent ruling that is currently being appealed.

On July 19, 2022, the Court of Claims ruled in Mothering Justice’s favor, holding that the Michigan Constitution prohibited the state legislature’s “adopt-and-amend” strategy in 2018. The court explained that the Michigan Legislature had only three choices when faced with ballot initiatives:

  1. Enact them without change before the election;
  2. Let the voters decide through the ballot box; or
  3. Propose an alternative before the election and have voters decide on the ballot initiative and the legislature’s proposed alternative.

The State of Michigan has appealed the decision and asked the Court of Claims to delay enforcement of its ruling pending a decision on the appeal. 

The Court of Claims ruled on July 29, 2022, that it would delay enforcement of its ruling until February 19, 2023, at which point the voter-initiated versions of IWOWA and PMLA will be enforceable.

For more information, please see the links below:

Previous Vensure Communication (07/26/2022)

Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA)

Improved Workforce Opportunity Act (IWOWA)

Article 1 – Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and may want to examine their leave policies to ensure they comply with the PMLA.

One of our trusted sources, Fisher Phillips, provides a breakdown of what employers should consider doing to prepare for the possible changes coming in February 2023. You can find a link to that section here.

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