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SBAM Files Amicus Brief on Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Laws

October 7, 2022

The Small Business Association of Michigan, along with the Small Business for a Better Michigan coalition, has filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Court of Appeals defending the compromise of 2018 on minimum wage and paid sick leave. SBAM has a long standing position that government should not get involved in the relationship between employer and employee.

In 2018, the Michigan Legislature amended a ballot initiative that sought to increase the minimum wage and change Michigan’s paid sick leave law.  Under this compromise, employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to mandatory paid sick leave requirements and employers with more than 50 employees have to provide a minimum of 1 hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked, up to a minimum of 40 hours each year. This compromise also set the minimum wage for 2022 to $9.87 per hour.  

The original law, that the Legislature changed, would have instituted a minimum wage of $12 per hour by 2022. Additionally, the tipped minimum wage would be increased to make the regular minimum wage by 2024. The mandatory paid sick leave benefit would have been 1 hour given for every 30 hours worked up to a minimum benefit level of 72 hours each year. This would apply to employers of all sizes including those with fewer than 50 employees.

“The laws, without the compromise, would be devastating to small businesses, who are still trying to recover from the pandemic while also dealing with inflation, workforce shortages, and supply chain disruptions,” said SBAM President & CEO Brian Calley. Both the minimum wage and paid sick leave provisions will only increase the cost of doing business. Small businesses have been through so much in recent years, they can’t handle the serious hit the original provisions would have delivered.”

In July, the Court of Claims struck down the legislative changes enacted in 2018 regarding minimum wage and mandatory paid sick time. This caused much confusion until the Court of Claims then issued a stay at the end of July until February 19, 2023. The Court of Claims cited concerns of the ability of employers and state agencies to accommodate the changes.

The decision now sits before the Court of Appeals, where SBAM has filed an amicus brief explaining the burden the original law would have on our small business community.  The Michigan Court of Appeals, after a motion to expedite was filed, agreed to take on the matter quickly, as soon as November, in order to reach a decision by February 1, 2023.

In the meantime, the 2018 compromise still stands. Regardless of the outcome at the Court of Appeals, we anticipate this decision ultimately reaching the Michigan Supreme Court.

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