On the Michigan Legislature’s Passage of a $12 Minimum Wage for All Workers and Paid Sick Leave

On Wednesday, the Michigan Legislature approved raising the state’s minimum wage to $12 by 2022 and eliminating the tipped minimum wage by 2024. Lawmakers also passed important paid sick leave legislation allowing workers to take up to nine days of sick time without risk of losing their jobs.

The law fully adopts two ballot initiatives that 400,000 Michiganders supported with their signatures. The initiatives will no longer appear on the November ballot. Michigan now becomes the eighth state in the nation to set itself on track to phase-out the exploitative two-tier, tipped wage system, joining states like Nevada, California, Minnesota, and Montana, and the twelfth state to adopt paid sick leave, alongside Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and others.

In response to the legislature’s move, Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, issued the following statement:

“Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders came together to put the question to voters on whether to raise the minimum wage to $12 and end the $3.52 poverty wage that restaurant servers and other tipped workers earn as a base wage. These same voters also asked whether two million Michigan workers should have the right to take sick days without fear of losing their paychecks. Yesterday, the legislature acknowledged the overwhelming momentum and leadership of these campaigns by adopting the initiatives in their entirety.

“It is now up to Michigan legislators to ensure that these laws are fully implemented just as the people of Michigan wrote them, providing much needed relief to working families saddled with rising living costs and deteriorating job standards. The true test of the legislature’s commitment to working families will come after the election in November, during the “lame-duck” session. Any attempt to water down these laws would be undemocratic, unconstitutional, and unconscionable and voters will surely hold lawmakers accountable for it.

“Michigan, which has helped build America’s middle-class with its factories and farms, should be proud today of what it has achieved. Low-wage workers across the state will receive desperately needed raises and all families will now enjoy the right to recover from illness knowing they have a job to return to. We hope that Michigan legislators choose to continue to listen to their voices going forward.”

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The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org


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