With just a few weeks to go before the demise of Michigan’s GOP-trifecta on December 31, Governor Rick Snyder’s signature is the last step needed to amend the recently passed Earned Sick Time Act. Both legislative chambers passed amendment bills this week and sent an enrolled bill to Governor Snyder yesterday morning.
Governor Snyder’s signature on the renamed Paid Medical Leave Act would be the culmination of a two-step legislative gambit during the last three months. The first step was to pass the Earned Sick Time Act, which was slated to be presented to the voters on November 6. The legislature passed that bill on September 5, 2018. The second step was to amend that law to make it more to the GOP’s liking. Passing the Earned Sick Time Act facilitated amending it because a majority in each chamber is needed to amend a law enacted by the legislature while three-quarters vote in each chamber is needed to amend a law enacted through a ballot initiative.
Proponents of the Earned Sick Time Act claim the amended law guts it, or worse. Proponents of the amendment argue that the amendment softens an expensive mandate to reduce its detrimental impact on businesses, especially small businesses.
The amendment bill makes many changes to the Earned Sick Time Act. Among them is a change to its scope, both of employers to whom the law would apply and of employees who would be eligible to accrue PSL. Under the amendment, only employers with at least fifty employees would need to provide paid sick leave. Employees exempt under the FLSA and employees who worked an average of less than 25 hours during the previous calendar year are not eligible to accrue PSL under the amended bill.