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Michigan Court of Appeals Hears Argument on the Adopt and Amend Strategy that Impacts Minimum Wage and Paid Medical Leave in Michigan

On December 13, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals heard arguments regarding the constitutionality of the legislative adopt and amend process that modified ballot proposals impacting Michigan’s minimum hourly wage rate and the Paid Medical Leave Act (“PMLA”) in the case of Mother Justice v. Nessel.  A decision was not expected and an opinion was not issued from the Bench. For now, nothing has changed, and the status of the law remains in a holding pattern presumably through February 19, 2023, pursuant to a stay entered earlier this year by the Court of Claims.  Regardless of which way the Court of Appeals rules, further challenges are expected. 

At the direction of the Court, the oral arguments focused on the constitutionality of the legislative action not the potential impact to Michigan businesses in the event the Court of Claims decision holding that adopting a proposal and amending the proposal during the same legislative term is unconstitutional. If upheld, the decision reinstates the minimum hourly wage rate increases and the Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”) as originally adopted. Both parties asked the Appellate panel to issue an opinion on this important topic by February 1, 2023. 

Varnum’s Labor & Employment team is closely monitoring the proceedings and is prepared to assist clients with preparation to comply and compliance when a final decision is issued. Please contact your Varnum Labor & Employment attorney with any questions.

First year associate Rebecca Fadler contributed to this advisory.

© 2023 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 348

About this Author

Luis E. Avila Labor Employment Attorney Varnum Law Grand Rapids

Luis focuses his practice on labor, employment and immigration issues. Luis has a wide range of experience in traditional labor matters, including grievances, arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, union drives, and matters in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). Luis has counseled employers on a number of workplace matters, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, and...

Maureen Rouse-Ayoub Labor Employment Attorney

Maureen represents clients in all areas of labor and employment. She advises clients on labor management relations including union election proceedings, collective bargaining and contract enforcement in arbitration and before the National Labor Relations Board. Maureen defends employment-related claims including discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Whistleblowers' and Fair Labor Standards Act violations in federal and state courts, administrative proceedings and arbitration hearings. She counsels clients on drafting, implementation and enforcement of workplace policies....

Stephanie R. Setterington, labor and employment attorney, Varnum

Stephanie advises employers on a wide variety of labor and employment matters, with an emphasis on employment litigation defense, and the identification and development of best practices in the area of human resources. She has worked extensively as labor and employment counsel for publicly-traded and privately-held companies that vary from single-site businesses to multi-state or global entities. She works with each client to ensure compliance with labor and employment-related legal requirements, develop effective human resource operations, and achieve the successful...

Elizabeth Wells Skaggs, labor and employment attorney, Varnum

Beth is a partner in the labor and employment practice group, focusing employment issues and litigation. She has counseled business clients on a variety of matters affecting the workplace, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination issues, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, harassment prevention and litigation avoidance.  When litigation is unavoidable, Beth has significant experience representing employers under the numerous state and federal statutes that govern the...

Ashleigh E. Draft Associate Grand Rapids Labor & Employment

Ashleigh is an associate attorney currently working with the labor and employment group. She also works with higher education clients and provides support on a variety of litigation matters.

Ashleigh’s experience includes serving as a legal extern for the Michigan Court of Appeals Research Division. She also clerked for Michigan Appeals Court Judge Jane Beckering. Prior to law school, Ashleigh served organizations in the higher education and nonprofit sectors in various development and communications roles.