Michigan Sick Leave Law

Many sick employees are contemplating whether they should stay at home or work despite their illness.

However, other employees may not face this issue since they do not have the privilege of having sick leave credits at all.

When employees come to work with illness, their coworkers may also be affected.

Let’s explore if there is a Michigan Sick Leave law you may use and other relevant subjects.

Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act

Governor Rick Snyder signed the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) in December 2018, and it became effective in March 2019.

An employer with at least 50 workers must offer paid medical leave to eligible employees for themselves or their family members.

Employees must be allowed to earn sick leave for up to one hour for every 35 working hours.

This sick time law also compels employers to provide eligible workers every 12 months of 40 hours of sick leave credits.

Furthermore, workers may carry over 40 hours of unused leave for the next calendar year.

Some of the valid purposes under this law are:

  • Medical needs
  • Public health emergency
  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic violence

Employee Eligibility and Exclusions

This Michigan sick leave law is available to part-time, full-time, and some temporary employees.

However, the law won’t cover:

  • Government employees whose primary location of employment is not based in Michigan
  • Independent contractors
  • Workers who are exempted from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements
  • Seasonal employees who work for a company that operates for 25 weeks or less annually for a job that only requires 25 weeks or less
  • Those who worked for less than 25 hours per week on average in the previous calendar year

Use of Leave

An employee may utilize accrued paid sick leave at a given period.

However, an employer may restrict employees from using it until they accumulate 90 working in the company.

Paid medical leave is usually granted in 1-hour increments.

That is the case unless the company has a specific increment policy in writing in its employee handbook or other related documents.

Employees requesting leave must adhere to the employer’s notification, documentation, and procedural requirements.

Paid Medical Leave Process

Employers can meet the law’s time-off obligation in three ways.

Paid Leave Method

Employers must give at least 40 hours of paid leave every benefit year, which includes:

  • Personal days
  • Sick days
  • Vacation days
  • Other types of paid time off (PTO)

The employer who prefers the paid leave method is presumed to conform with the Act under a “rebuttable presumption.”

Those who use this are not obligated to separate paid vacation from paid sick time or other PTOs.

Up-Front Method

Employers will provide the 40-hour paid time off at the start of the benefit year.

This option could benefit employees because they don’t have to earn leave credits.

After all, it is given in full.

Companies may save some if they specify in the contract that unused hours are not allowed into the following year.

Accrual Method

The standard way of granting leaves to employees is the accrual method.

Employees have to earn their leave for every 35 hours working for the company.

They would get an hour of paid leave each time weekly if they’re able to record the number of hours mentioned earlier.

Employer Requirements and Penalties

Employers need to have a poster of the Act’s provisions in a visible location where employees can see and understand the details.

The state’s website has a free poster available in three languages.

If it’s not posted on the work premises, the law may subject employers to an administrative fee of $100.

Employers must maintain an account of the accrual and usage of paid medical leave hours for at least one year.

These records have to be ready for examination at any time by the Wage and Hour Division.

Employers who violate the Act could get a $1,000 fine and other administrative penalties for failing to offer paid medical leave.

They may also be liable to pay the employee whose paid sick leave is withheld, intentionally or not.

Covid-19 Executive Order

Employees who intend to take a medical leave because they tested positive for Covid 19 or have related symptoms have to do the following actions.

  • Self-quarantine for seven days since the symptoms first manifest or when tested positive
  • They have to stay at home for three days after the symptoms are gone 

If the swab test is negative, the right to leave becomes invalid.

To file a leave due to close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or related symptoms, you must be at home for 14 days. 

You may relieve yourself from self-quarantine once that person obtains a negative test.

According to the COVID-19 Executive Order, if you are on leave because of:

  • Positive swab test results
  • Have one of the following symptoms
  • You have close contact with an individual who has COVID-19 or related symptoms

You are covered even if your company has less than 50 people.

Unlike the Michigan Paid Sick Leave law, this Executive Order supports workers from almost all businesses except federal employees.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Michigan employees are allowed to use FMLA leave if the aforementioned Michigan sick leave law is not sufficient.

It allows qualified employees to have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for the reasons listed below.

  • Childbirth, adoption, foster care
  • Care for family members who have serious health issues
  • Severe injury or illness
  • Qualifying exigencies associated with military deployment of a family member in a foreign country

An employee is not required to use all of their leave in succession.

They may take reduced-schedule or intermittent leave when medically required or otherwise authorized.

When employees are currently on FMLA leave, their health coverage must be active as if they were on duty.

Once they have returned, their position with salary and employment terms before the leave must be the same.

If it’s not available anymore, the company must reassign the employee to an almost identical role with the same benefits as their previous one.

Final Thoughts

Michigan employees are more fortunate than those working in other states that don’t implement a similar law to the Paid Medical Leave Act.

It is a convenient benefit, especially for those without leave benefits in their contracts.

While the days are more limited, PMLA is superior to FMLA because the covered days are paid.

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