The Michigan Legislature recently made significant improvements to Michigan’s mandatory paid sick leave law. The act, which is slated to go into effect in March of 2019, was amended by the Legislature to make it workable for employers and employees alike. The Michigan Chamber has been a fierce advocate for these changes, fighting for you in the negotiating room. Our goal was to find a balance between requiring that employees have access to paid sick leave and making the law reasonable, workable and in-line with what the 10 other states with mandatory paid sick leave laws require. We think SB 1175, which is now on the Governor’s desk, achieves this goal.
Below is a summary of the act as adopted in September of 2018 and the bill negotiated with the Governor and sent to his desk.
|Public Act 338 of 2018|
(Ballot Proposal Turned Law)
|Legislative Changes |
(SB 1175, adopted 12/04/18)
NO EXEMPTIONS. There are no exemptions for employers with existing paid leave policies or small employers. All employers will need to adjust their policies. Leave is available to exempt employees, temps, and independent contractors.
ACCRUAL AND CARRY-OVER. Employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. All employees would be entitled to use 72 hours in a year. Employees working for employers with 10 or less employees would be entitled to use 40 hours of paid leave, 32 hours of unpaid leave. Although the employer could limit use to 72 hours per year, all time must be carried over from year to year (no cap).
USE AND PAYMENT OF TIME. Leave time can be used in the smallest increment that the employer’s payroll system uses to account for absences (e.g., 6-minute increments). The Act is unclear as to how time must be paid to commissioned, piece-meal and other employees with varying wages.
NOTIFICATION / DOCUMENTATION. The Act requires seven days’ notice for use or, if not possible, “as soon as practicable.” This will provide employees 72 hours of no-notice leave time. An employer can only require documentation after three consecutive leave days. Documentation that sick time is necessary will be limited to a generic statement by a heath care professional – nothing more. Employers are responsible for any payment of the employee’s out-of-pocket costs associated with providing documentation.
LITIGATION, FINES AND FEES. The Act assumes the employee’s side for unfavorable personnel actions, putting employers in a position of having to defend their decisions in court. The Act creates a private right of action for workers and two rebuttable presumptions against employers. Remedies available to employees include reinstatement, attorney fees and all back pay and benefits (doubled as liquidated damages).