Michigan Governor Signs Sick Leave Amendment
By Michael J. Soltis, Esq.
On Dec. 13, Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder signed into law the bill amending the recently enacted Paid Sick Leave (PSL) law, putting the finishing touch on a two-step political strategy to have the legislature craft a PSL bill rather than have voters consider a bill crafted by PSL advocates. For the strategy to succeed, Governor Snyder needed to sign the bill before Dec. 31, his last day in office. Governor- elect Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, takes office on Jan. 1.
The legislature took the first step on Sep. 5, 2018, when it passed the Earned Sick Time Act, which was slated to be presented to voters in November. The second step was to amend that law, which it did within the past few weeks. The amendment renames the PSL bill the Paid Medical Leave Act.
PSL proponents have accused the legislature of gutting the Earned Sick Leave Law and undermining democracy. They have threatened to challenge in court the legislature’s authority to amend the initial law. Proponents of the amendment argue that the Earned Sick Leave Law did not adequately consider or balance the interests of all constituencies, small business in particular, and that the Paid Medical Leave Act does so.
The Paid Medical Leave Act makes many changes to the Earned Sick Time Act. Generally, by narrowing the definitions of employer, employee, and family member, it reduces the number of employees eligible for the PSL benefit, which it also reduced.
Michigan is the eleventh state to enact a paid sick leave law.
***This article originally appeared on the Paid Sick Leave @Work site and was reposted on the DMEC website with their permission.***