Michigan Court Blocks Big Changes to Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Laws

Author: Michael Cardman, HR & Compliance Center Senior Legal Editor

January 27, 2023

More employer-friendly versions of Michigan's minimum wage and paid sick leave laws will remain in place following an appellate court decision yesterday.

As a result, employers have avoided significant changes that might have taken effect as early as February 19, including the following:

  • The 2023 minimum wage would have increased from $10.10 to $13.03 an hour;
  • The minimum wage would have been adjusted for inflation in future years rather than staying on a fixed, predicable schedule that gradually increases the minimum wage to $12.05 by 2031;
  • The minimum wage tip credit would have been gradually phased out;
  • The paid sick leave law would have been expanded to apply to all employers rather than only employers with 50 or more employees; and
  • Employees would accrue more paid sick leave: one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 72 hours, rather than one hour for every 35 hours worked, up to 40 hours.

How We Got Here

Last year, a lower court struck down the state's current minimum wage law, known as the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, and its paid sick leave law, known as the Paid Medical Leave Act.

In their place, the court restored earlier versions of the laws passed in 2018, which were significantly more beneficial to employees. But, noting there were "justified concerns regarding the ability of employers and the relevant state agencies to immediately accommodate the changes," the court temporarily paused its decision.

The State of Michigan appealed, and yesterday the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's ruling.

As a result, the current versions of the laws will remain in place - at least for the time being. The worker groups that filed the original lawsuit vowed to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

"While today's court ruling is a setback and another needless delay to a commonsense economic policy, we vow to appeal and seek justice before Michigan's Supreme Court," Eboni Taylor, executive director of Mothering Justice, said in a statement.