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Lawmakers Approve Major Changes to Michigan’s New Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Laws

The amended bills are heading to the governor’s desk

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Legislators in Michigan’s House of Representatives and Senate voted today in favor of major changes to the state’s new minimum wage and paid sick leave laws, the Detroit News reports. The new minimum wage bill is stripped key components that would have eventually abolished the tipped minimum wage in Michigan.

The original version approved by lawmakers in September used Michigan’s One Fair Wage campaign language and called for gradually increasing the standard minimum wage from $9.25 per hour to $12 per hour by 2022. The tipped workers, meanwhile, would have seen wages increase from $3.52 per hour to $12 per hour by 2024. (The tipped minimum wage assumes that employees make enough tips to earn $5.73 per hour.)

After the election, state Republicans proposed a sliced and diced version of the law that would have increase the standard minimum wages to $12 per hour by 2030 and tipped wages to just $4 over the same period. State Senate Republicans voted in favor of amendments to minimum wage legislation in Senate Bill 1171 last week.

After meeting with Governor Rick Snyder today, representatives from both branches of the legislature agreed to increase the minimum wage to $12.05 per hour by 2030 and $4.58 per hour for tipped minimum wage workers, according to the Detroit News. That’s a slightly better deal for tipped workers than what Republicans had originally suggested, but is still nowhere near close to the matching $12 restaurant employees would have received in 2024 through the original ballot measure.

The effort by Republicans in the state legislature to gut the law is the latest chapter in a contentious battle that began with a voter-backed ballot proposal. The Michigan One Fair Wage campaign, supported by national restaurant labor group Restaurant Opportunities Center, received the required number of signatures to land on the ballot on November 6. The measure was strongly opposed by business groups including the Michigan Restaurant Association. Voters, however, were circumvented by GOP lawmakers who control the state legislature. The House and Senate adopted both the One Fair Wage proposal and the paid leave initiative in September in order to make the laws easier to amend in a lame duck session with a simple majority vote. That’s exactly what happened today with the passage of the bill.

The efforts to gut the minimum wage law and a fellow ballot measure for paid sick time have drawn criticism, with some calling the efforts unconstitutional. Hundreds of protestors gathered at the in Lansing today to oppose the lame duck session.

Lawmakers in the House also approved changes to the paid sick time law on Tuesday. That law was originally designed so that workers to receive one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. But under the new version of the bill, workers would receive one hour of leave for every 36 hours worked. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from the new sick time rule, per the Detroit Free Press.

The bill will now go to Governor Snyder. Given the governor’s intervention in the final hours before the House vote, it seems all but certain that Snyder will sign the bill.

Gov, Lawmakers Strike Deal on Changes to Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave [Detroit News]
Controversial Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Bills Up for Final Passage [Freep]
Michigan Legislature Approves Initiatives for $12 Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave [ED]
$12 Minimum Wage Supporters Oppose Proposal to Adopt and Amend Ballot Measure [ED]
Michigan Court Rules $12 Minimum Wage Proposal Should Go on November Ballot [ED]
All Labor Coverage [ED]