Update on Current Legal Battle Over 2018 Adopt & Amend

In the July 21st issue of Weekly Update, we provided a summary of a surprising turn of events with several laws passed by the state Legislature in late 2018. As we reported at that time, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled on July 19th that the “adopt and amend” approach was unconstitutional. This potentially means that the two laws the Legislature passed on minimum wage and paid sick leave–which closely mirrored the ballot proposal that otherwise would have gone before Michigan voters–would stand, and the two subsequent laws they passed to enact business-friendly modifications, would be voided.


In a nutshell, this means that drastic changes would be implemented here in Michigan, regarding both minimum wage (and tipped wage) and paid sick leave. The MBA views these changes as unfavorable to business; in fact, in August 2018, the Board voted to officially oppose these changes, which were still a ballot proposal at that point in time.


While we are concerned for both matters–minimum wage and paid sick leave–the potential changes to paid sick leave are most concerning, as many employers have already adjusted their pay scales upward in response to the current workforce challenges.


At this webpage, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce provides a comprehensive summary of the changes that virtually every business–probably including yours–would need to make. If your business already has a paid sick leave policy, that will simply not be enough. We urge you to review this side-by-side comparison of the current law, and what will be required if the Court of Claims ruling stands.


So, now what? Well, as we eluded to in this article’s title, a legal battle is ensuing at the Michigan Court of Appeals, which essentially challenges the Court of Claims ruling that the adopt-and-amend strategy is unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals has been asked to expedite this case, and we are awaiting their agreement. If they agree, then a final decision could be reached by late 2022 or early 2023. Currently, a “stay” on the Court of Claims ruling of unconstitutionality has been implemented, but that will expire in mid-February. An expedited timeline could result in a ruling before that stay expires.


If this all sounds confusing… It is. If this all sounds like it could significantly impact your business… It could. The MBA is gauging how we can best engage to advocate on behalf of the 3,000 businesses here in Midland. We will continue to keep you informed.

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