paid sick leave | Michigan Radio

paid sick leave


Some Democrats think the COVID-19 outbreak illustrates the need for expanded paid sick time for workers.

State Representative Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) introduced a bill to require employers to provide one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked with a cap of 72 hours earned sick time. The current law is one hour for every 35 hours worked with a cap of 40.

Michigan House Democrats

A bill introduced in the Michigan legislature would expand paid sick leave for employees in the state.

State Representative Padma Kuppa (D-Troy/Clawson) introduced the bill.

Judge's gavel
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The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to offer advice on whether the Legislature acted legally last year to adopt and then dramatically alter two petition initiatives.

One petition-initiated law raised the state’s minimum wage; the other required employers to provide paid sick leave.

Once the petition signatures were filed and certified, the Republican-controlled Legislature was faced with a choice: adopt the initiatives, or allow them to go to the ballot.

minimum wage
Adobe Stock

The state's new minimum wage and earned sick time laws take effect today. But there’s lingering controversy about how the measures made it into law.

Lawmakers adopted the ballot questions before they could go to voters – and then made significant changes before sending them to then-governor Rick Snyder for his signature.

“It’s not a true victory,” said Danielle Atkinson, a leader of the campaign to change the state’s sick time laws.” It’s not what the people of Michigan asked for, wanted or need.”

Michigan Supreme Court
Michigan Supreme Court /

A coalition of small businesses has filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Supreme Court seeking an immediate ruling on whether amendments to the state's minimum wage and paid sick leave laws comply with the state constitution.

The amicus brief is in support of resolutions by the Michigan House and Senate seeking an advisory opinion from the state Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the amendments.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder signed two bills into law that weaken voter initiatives to raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave for workers. Republican legislators passed the initiatives into law in September to prevent them from going on the ballot. That allowed them to extensively amend the measures.

The Michigan State Capitol
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Today on Stateside, Michigan's lame-duck legislature moved to roll back previously-passed legislation that increased the state's minimum wage and mandated paid sick leave. Plus, a member of the Mackinac Bridge Authority weighs in on the state's plan to have the organization oversee a tunnel to house the replacement pipelines for of Enbridge's aging Line 5. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Watering down laws on minimum wage and paid sick leave remain at the top of the Republican agenda as state lawmakers return to work next week for their lame duck session.

Legislators passed the two measures in September to avoid letting Michigan voters decide at the polls. By doing so, state lawmakers have more power to alter the laws.

Danielle Atkinson is part of the campaign that tried to put paid employee sick leave on the November ballot. She says Republican lawmakers are not listening to them.

“They are only listening to the people that have the opportunity to vote for them or not vote for them,” says Atkinson, “So, we’re asking people who live in the district of a representative who have said they want to change this, to call them, message them, knock on their doors.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature returns for the start of its lame duck session Wednesday.  

There are several items on the agenda, including possibly amending laws to raise the minimum wage and to require paid sick leave.  

Pete Vargas is with Michigan One Fair Wage. He says legislators should leave the laws alone.

“We really hope and charge our legislators to avoid an expensive legal battle and just do what they are supposed to do and uphold the ballot initiatives and the spirit of the language it was adopted in,” says Vargas. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Proponents of paid sick time in Michigan want to rally support before state lawmakers try to tinker with the new law after the November election.

Erick Senkmajer (L) and Erika Senecal (R).
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

On today's Stateside, the Republican-controlled state Legislature passes two progressive ballot proposals, giving them the power to amend the laws with a simple majority. Plus, two Port Huron teachers reflect on teaching high school music when you're just starting out, and when you've been doing it for 27 years.  

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Tensions were high at a Board of State Canvassers meeting over ballot initiatives to increase the state’s minimum wage and to require employers offer earned sick time.

The board was ready to decide whether to certify the proposals, but an attorney for a business group that opposes the measures told the board a technicality prevented the board from legally voting on it Thursday. So the Board went to recess without a vote until the next day.

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Business-backed organizations say two initiatives waiting for approval from the Board of State Canvassers should not be on the November ballot. One would raise the state’s minimum wage. The other would require earned sick time for employees.

The challenges, in part, involve whether the petitions have enough valid signatures to be on the November ballot.

Flicker /


Last week, two more business organizations formally launched challenges to proposals headed for the ballot this November. 


grand hotel on mackinac island
David Ball / creative commons


Michigan’s decision-makers are gathered this week on Mackinac Island for the annual Detroit Policy Conference. 

State House Speaker Tom Leonard is among those attending. He spoke with Stateside about a number of upcoming ballot measures being discussed in the state legislature. Once a voter-driven initiative is certified to be on the ballot, the legislature has 40 days to do one of three things: They can amend and pass it, offer a competing proposal, or do nothing and let it go to the ballot. 

Robert Couse-Baker / creative commons

The Michigan Manufacturers Association is warning that a proposal for mandatory paid sick leave could lead to stalled job growth in the state. 

On Tuesday, the group Michigan Time to Care turned in more than 380,000 signatures for a petition to create an "Earned Sick Time Act." Under the proposal, workers would be guaranteed one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.

Paid sick time proposal could be on November ballot

May 29, 2018
M. Kuhlman

A group advocating for paid sick time for Michigan workers has collected enough signatures to put their proposal on the ballot. The proposal would allow workers to earn an hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours worked.


Danielle Atkinson is a cochair of the MI Time to Care campaign.


someone writing on a ballot
Michael Dorausch / Flickr,

Voters might have the chance to decide a pair of workers’ rights questions next year.

A petition campaign to require businesses to offer employees paid sick and family leave has launched its signature-gathering drive. On the same day, a state elections board approved the form of a campaign to increase the state minimum wage to $12 an hour, which plans to start gathering names next month.

The minimum wage campaign would also require employers pay the $12 an hour even to workers who count tips as part of their earnings.

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When it comes to Michigan politics, two of this week's biggest topics were a proposal to mandate that employers let workers earn paid sick time and an effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.

William Brawley / Flickr Creative Commons

If you work, you deserve paid sick time.

That was the message of Democratic lawmakers in Lansing today who introduced legislation that would require employers to let full- and part-time workers earn sick time.

Employees would get one hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work.

The legislation would let workers use the time off for their own illness or the illness of a close family member. It would also apply to LBGT families, grandparents raising children, and single-parent families.

person writing on paper
LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Employers in Michigan would have to let workers earn paid sick days under a petition drive that got the OK to start collecting signatures. A state elections board says the petition meets all the technical requirements of Michigan campaign laws.

A similar drive to put paid sick time on the November ballot folded this past spring.

“We didn’t have enough signatures,” said Danielle Atkinson, one of the organizers with Raise Michigan. “Unfortunately, it takes a lot of money to get an issue on the ballot, and we just fell short.”

After tomorrow's congressional and legislative primaries, just 97 days remain until Election Day 2016. Of course, it's never too early to look ahead to the 2018 elections and, at least one petition campaign is already making plans in that direction.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The effort to get paid sick leave for all Michigan workers on the ballot this November is over for now.

Dave Woodward is the Oakland County Commissioner for Berkley and Royal Oak.

He and the Time to Care coalition organized the campaign to get paid sick leave on the ballot, but aren't confident the group would get enough petition signatures in time.

The proposed law would require businesses with ten or more employees to provide one hour of sick time for every thirty hours worked.

person writing on paper
LucasTheExperience / Flickr

An effort is underway put mandatory paid sick leave for all Michigan workers on the November 2016 ballot.

The proposal would require businesses to offer paid leave if a worker or someone in their immediate family is sick. The initiative from the Time to Care Coalition would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.