Judge delays Michigan minimum wage, paid sick leave ruling until February

Michigan’s minimum wage won’t jump from $9.87 per hour to $12, and employers won’t have to provide paid sick leave until at least February, according to a ruling from Court of Claims Judge Douglas B. Shapiro.

On July 19, Shapiro ruled that the GOP-dominated Legislature violated the Constitution by weakening two 2018 ballot proposals to raise the minimum wage and require companies to provide paid sick leave.

"The new laws, therefore, substantially amended the original laws proposed by the voters," Shapiro wrote on July 19. "The process effectively thwarted the intent of the people and denied them the opportunity to vote on whether they preferred the voter-initiated proposal or the Legislature’s suggested modifications."

However, a week later, Shapiro delayed the ruling activation until February 19 to give employers and state agencies time to accommodate the changes.

“Despite defendant’s failure to demonstrate entitlement to a stay pending appeal, the Court finds that there are justified concerns regarding the ability of employers and the relevant state agencies to immediately accommodate the changes required...,” Shapiro wrote.

Shapiro noted any further stays should be sought from the Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court.

If enacted immediately, business groups said the $12 per hour ruling would be “crippling” to employers and employees.

Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association President & CEO Justin Winslow welcomed the stay, saying that it has “successfully prevented the immediate economic decimation of full-service restaurants.”

However, Winslow urged the state of Michigan to file for a full stay of the ruling, saying that “[i]t leaves a teetering industry unsure of its future and incapable of making informed decisions to regain stability.”

“We are hopeful that the state of Michigan files for a full stay of Judge Shapiro’s ruling to the Court of Appeals and that ultimately a decision is reached that allows Michigan restaurants a reliable path toward full recovery which includes operating with a tip credit like 42 other states currently do,” Winslow said in a statement.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says they expect plaintiffs to appeal the stay ruling as early as Monday.

If the stay is overturned by a higher court, the minimum wage would rise to $12 per hour, and the tipped wage would rise from $3.75 to $9.60 per hour.

If the stay is overturned, the MCC says that all employees would be entitled to use one hour of paid medical leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 72 hours annually. Meanwhile, small businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be required to grant 40 hours of paid leave and 32 hours of unpaid leave.

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