If you are a Michigan employer you should have heard about the new sick time laws passed by the Michigan Legislature on Sept 5. 2018. On this date, Michigan became the 11th state to adopt mandatory sick leave for employees, also known as the Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA).
What does this mean for your business? Here we will explain what the law is how it affects your business and what you need to do to stay legal.
This act officially becomes effective on March 29, 2019.
This article is meant as a high-level guide, here is the actual ruling
Employers Must Give Sick Time Off
This new act effectively mandates that employers must establish a PTO policy where all employees (full OR part-time) must accrue a minimum of 1 hour for every 35 hours worked. Accruing hours could also be viewed as earning hours, so if an employee worked 1000 hours in one year, you would divide the 1000 hours by 35 (1000 / 35 = 28.57) which gives the employee 28.57 hours of sick time.
Who Is Not Entitled To Paid Sick Leave
There are 12 categories of employees that are not eligible for the Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA). You can view a complete list of non-eligible employees at this website: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-59886_91049---,00.html.
Max Sick Accrued Depends On The Size Of Your Company
Under the act, an employer with 49 employees or less, the act does not apply. If you have 50 employees or more, you do not fall under the “Small Business” clause and your employees will be due more paid sick time.
49 Employees Of Less
With a small business of 49 or fewer employees, the employees are not entitled to additional paid sick days.
50 Employees Of More
Michigan Businesses with 50 or more employees may accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave. There is no allowance for unpaid sick leave here, all 40 must be paid.
An employer may choose to increase the maximums if they choose, this would benefit the employee, but the maximum accrued hours cannot be lowered.
Approved Uses Of Sick Time
Under Michigan's new paid sick leave act, there are definitions of what is considered “sick time”. Here are the high-level concepts of what is considered sick time.
- The employee required mental or physical care or treatment
- The employee's family members require physical or mental care
- The employee is required to meet at the child's school or place or care related to health or disability
- The employee's child's place or care or school closes
- Physical care or treatment may include care for sexual assault or domestic violence
If the employer requires a “sick note” from a doctor, the employer is required to pay any out of pocket expenses needed to obtain the note.
Accrued Sick Time Carries Over From One Year To The Next
According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs , the new Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act states that unused employee sick time (up to 40 hours) can be carried over to the next year, but employers are not required to allow employees to use more than 40 hours in a single benefit year.
Here's an example, if your employee accrues 35 hours of sick time, but only uses 10 hours on sick days, there is a remaining balance of 25 sick hours. Employers can carry the 25 hours over into the new year, and the employee will effectively start the year with a positive bank of 25 sick hours.
It is important to note that the employer has the option to give the 40 hours up front or decide to have employees accrue or proprate the hours. An employer also has the right to wait 90 days after an employee starts their job until they can use their sick time.
Additionally, you, the employer can choose how to calculate a “year” under the act. A “year” must be defined as any consecutive 12 month period, for instance, March 29, 2019, to March 28, 2020.
Accrued Sick Time Must Be Recorded
The new sick time act requires that all Michigan employers retain a minimum of 3 years records documenting employee's hours worked and sick time taken. These records must be properly recorded and easily understandable.
How You Can Comply
The first thing that needs to be done is to set up proper employee time tracking and sick time off accruals. You can do this manually using pen and paper, or even using Excel. While these manual systems will work, it is generally better to use online software such as OnTheClock, or do a Google search for something like “Employee Time Clock” for another solution.
The second item is to set up a PTO policy that covers the Michigan paid sick time law. Keep in mind your company size, as 49 or fewer employees do not fall under the new Michigan Paid Sick Leave Law, and 50 or more employees are required to pay employees up to 40 hours for sick days.
For additional information on how to track PTO or if you would like to understand more about proper paid time off please visit our Employee PTO Section.