On September 5, 2018, the Michigan Legislature approved a proposed ballot measure that requires certain employers to provide employees with paid medical leave. By approving the initiative instead of allowing voters to approve it during the November 2018 election, the state legislature was able to amend the law with only a majority vote and provide employers with more lead time to prepare for the new law. The Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act is scheduled to take effect March 29, 2019.
Under the new law, private employers with 50 or more employees will be required to provide employees with paid medical leave for personal or family health needs, as well as purposes related to domestic violence and sexual assault. A covered employee will start to accrue on the effective date of the new law, or upon commencement of employment, whichever is later. An employee will accrue one hour of paid medical leave for every 35 hours worked, unless the employer offers to provide at least 40 hours of leave at the beginning of a benefit year. Employers may require employees to wait until the 90th day after commencing employment to use accrued paid medical leave. Employers are not required to allow employees to carry over more than 40 hours of unused accrued paid family medical leave from one benefit year to another benefit year. Employers may require employees to provide documentation when taking this leave. Employers must give employees at least three days to provide the documentation.
The paid family medical leave can be use for any of the following reasons:
- mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of an employee or family member;
- medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of an employee or family member;
- preventative medical care for an employee or family member;
- closure of the employee’s place of business, or a child’s school or place of care, by order of a public official due to a public health emergency;
- care after health authorities or health care provider determined that the employee’s or family member’s presence in the community may jeopardize the health of others because of their exposure to a communicable disease, whether or not the employee or family member has actually contracted the communicable disease; or
- service or care as a result of domestic violence or sexual assault (i.e. counseling, relocation, or participation in any civil or criminal proceedings).
A family member is defined in the text of the law as:
- a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis;
- a biological parent, foster parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent or a legal guardian of an eligible employee or an eligible employee’s spouse or an individual who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;
- an individual to whom the employee is legally married under the laws of any state; and
- a grandparent, grandchild, or a biological, foster, or adopted sibling.
Employers are required to display a poster in a conspicuous place that is accessible to employees, that contains all of the following information:
- the amount of paid medical leave required to be provided to an employee under this act;
- the terms under which paid medical leave may be used; and
- the cover employee’s right to file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for any violation of this act.
An employer that willfully violates the posting requirement is subject to an administrative fine of not more than $100 for each separate violation. Covered employers are advised to start preparing for the new law by reviewing and updating their leave policies.