Michigan paid sick leave changes: What to know about new law

Micah Walker
Detroit Free Press

Beginning Friday, the state's new paid medical leave act goes into effect, along with an increase in minimum wage from $9.25 to $9.45. 

The paid sick leave law comes after activists gathered enough signatures to get the issue on the Nov. 6 ballot. However, instead of allowing it to go on the ballot, Republicans in the Legislature adopted the proposals in September and two days after the November election introduced bills to gut the laws they had passed just a few months earlier. If the proposals had gone to the ballot and passed by voters, it would have taken a three-fourths majority to amend the laws.

The original proposal would have required employers to give employees one hour for every 30 hours worked or 72 hours per year. The amended version of the law has cut the time to 40 hours per year.

Here's what else you need to know:

How much time do I need to accrue?

According to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, employees would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked and up to 40 hours per year. Employers are allowed to limit an employee's time to one hour per week In addition, employees are allowed to provide all 40 hours to sick leave at the start of a benefit year to avoid carry-over into the next. 

For new employees, time will begin to accrue on the effective date or date of hire, but an employer can choose to withhold paid leave until the person has reached 90 days.

More:Michigan minimum wage increases today. Why it matters, even if you earn more

More:Michigan Senate guts minimum wage hike, paid sick leave

Who is eligible for paid sick leave?

The law applies to workplaces with 50 or more employees, which includes full-time and some part-time employees. 

Workers who are exempt from the law include:

  • Individuals exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Private sector employees covered by a bargaining agreement
  • Temporary workers
  • Part-time employees who work less than 25 hours per week 
  • Seasonal employees who work less than 25 weeks in a calendar year for a job scheduled for 25 weeks or less
  • Employees who work in other states
  • Independent contractors
  • Variable hour employees 
  • Flight deck, cabin crew and railroad workers 

What can I use paid leave for? 

Employees can take paid leave for:

  • A physical or mental illness, injury, or health condition affecting themselves or a family member.  
  • Medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of themselves or a family member
  • Preventive care for themselves or a family member
  • If the employee or a family member is the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence
  • For the closure of the employee's place of business by order of a public official
  • To care for a child whose school or daycare has closed by a public official 
  • The employee's or a family member's exposure to a contagious disease 
  • To relocate
  • To obtain legal services

How is the pay rate calculated?

The Act requires an employer to pay employees at a rate equal to or greater than the normal hourly wage, base wage, or minimum wage. The employer does not have to include overtime, vacation, bonuses, commissions, supplemental pay, price-rate pay or gratuities when calculating the pay rate. 

For more information, go to the Michigan Legislature website at www.legislature.mi.gov.

Staff writer Kathleen Gray contributed to this report.