Paid Sick Leave - 2018 Ballot Proposal

The Issue:

Labor unions and anti-employer progressive groups are seeking to place a mandatory paid leave proposal on Michigan's statewide ballot in 2018.

If approved, employees working for businesses with 10 or more employees would accrue a minimum of one hour of “earned sick time” (paid sick leave) for every 30 hours worked. Employees would be entitled to use 72 hours in a year unless the employer selects a higher limit.   

The rules for small businesses, defined as less than 10 employees working during a given week (including part-time, full-time and temporary workers), would be slightly different. These employees would accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees would be entitled to use 40 hours in a year unless the employer selects a higher limit. If the employee uses more than 40 hours, the employee would be entitled to use an additional 32 hours of unpaid earned sick time. Employees would be entitled to use paid leave prior to using unpaid leave.   

Only a small handful of states currently have a statewide paid sick leave mandate on the books. As written, the ballot proposal would place severe compliance burdens on employers, including those with paid leave policies currently in place. The ballot proposal is a legal landmine, creating an unprecedented rebuttable presumption for adverse personnel actions and numerous avenues for lawsuits, fines and damages.

Proponents of paid sick leave turned in more than 380,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office to qualify the issue for the November 2018 ballot. However, a signature challenge has been filed with the Secretary of State. The complaint alleges that a review of signatures submitted “show[s] massive problems including fraud, duplicate signatures and unregistered voters.” The signature appeal process is ongoing. 

If the State determines the group has not collected the required signatures, this issue will not advance to the November ballot (i.e., unless the courts find otherwise). If the State determines the group has completed the process to satisfaction and that proponents have submitted sufficient signatures (at least 252,523) and certifies the proposal, the Legislature will have 40 days to adopt the proposal as written (no changes), reject the proposal and send the question to the voters, or do nothing and send the proposal to the voters. The Legislature could also put a competing question on the ballot.

Where We Stand:  

The Michigan Chamber is opposed to this one-size-fits-all paid leave mandate. Companies that can afford to provide paid leave typically do. For those that don’t, cost is the driving factor. A paid leave mandate, if approved by voters, will have a chilling impact on many businesses and, ultimately, their employees who may see increased responsibilities, fewer raises, fewer bonuses, reduced hours and even layoffs. Additionally, the ballot proposal is a legal landmine, creating an unprecedented rebuttable presumption for adverse personnel actions and numerous avenues for lawsuits, fines and damages. A paid leave mandate, and the lawsuits that may ensue, will make Michigan less competitive for new jobs and investment when compared to other states. 

The Michigan Time to Care campaign gathered more than 350,000 signatures for the proposal. The next step for the ballot proposal is a review by the Secretary of State and the Board of State Canvassers (“Board”). If the Board determines either group has sufficient signatures (at least 252,523) and certifies the proposal, the Legislature will have 40 days to adopt the proposal as written (no changes), reject the proposal and send the question to the voters, or do nothing and send the proposal to the voters. The Legislature can also put a competing question on the ballot. 

Staff Contact: 
Wendy Block
Vice President of Business Advocacy
(517) 371-7678
Legislative Proposals: