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Paid Medical Leave and Minimum Wage Laws Almost Certain to Go Into Effect March 29

March 26, 2019 Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that her office will not issue an opinion regarding the constitutionality of the Michigan Legislature's actions in adopting and amending the paid sick leave and minimum wage ballot proposals while the matter is pending in the courts. Although the Michigan Supreme Court has been asked by the Michigan Legislature to issue an advisory opinion, the court has not yet done so and historically has avoided doing so until the issue has gone through normal legal channels. Thus, unless the Supreme Court makes a surprise ruling in the next two days, both the Paid Medical Leave Act and the new minimum wage of $9.45 per hour will go into effect as planned on Friday, March 29, 2019.

The Time to Care and One Fair Wage advocacy groups - initiators behind the ballot proposals - filed a brief recently asking the Michigan Supreme Court to issue an opinion on the constitutionality of the Michigan Legislature’s actions. If the court declines to rule on the issue, the advocacy groups have indicated that they will either consider filing a separate lawsuit or renewing their appeal to Attorney General Nessel for an opinion. Without an opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court, lengthy litigation is likely to ensue. 

While it is too soon to tell whether these laws are set in stone, employers should be prepared to implement the new Paid Medical Leave Act and minimum wage provisions by this Friday, March 29.

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 86


About this Author

Barbara Moore, Varnum, employment lawyer

Barbara is an associate currently working with Varnum's Labor and Employment Team. She has experience with issues related to workplace policies, discrimination in the workplace, the ADA and FMLA, and state and federal wage-hour matters. Barbara also serves the Business and Corporate Services Practice Team by providing assistance with mergers and acquisitions.

Within the community, Barbara serves as a volunteer with the Tutor Mate program and has experience working on pro bono matters.

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 resolution of employment-related disputes.

Stephanie defends employers in state and federal courts, and before state and administrative agencies. She also assists unionized employers with contract and grievance administration issues. Her experience includes defending clients in grievance arbitrations, as well as in National Labor Relations Board proceedings at the trial and appellate levels.

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...

Bethany Sweeny, Varnum Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney

Bethany is a member of Varnum’s Labor and Employment Team. She focuses her practice on employment litigation involving claims of harassment, retaliation and discrimination, as well as FMLA, wage and hour and whistleblower claims. She also advises employers on a wide range of employment-related issues, including employee handbooks and employment policies, independent contractor agreements, disciplinary matters, discrimination and harassment issues, disability accommodation and litigation avoidance. Bethany works with clients in diverse industries including automotive,...