The Michigan Earned Sick Time Law Simplified

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.


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 9, 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 30 hours worked.  Accruing hours could also be viewed as earning hours, so if an employee worked 2000 hours in one year, you would divide the 2000 hours by 30 (2000 / 30 = 66.6) this gives the employee 66.6 hours of sick time.

Max Sick Accrued Depends On The Size Of Your Company

Under the act, an employer of fewer than 9 employees is considered a “Small Business”.  If you have 9 employees or less, the act considers you a small business.  If you have 10 employees or more, you do not fall under the “Small Business” clause and your employees will be due more paid sick time.

9 Employees Of Less

With a small business or 9 or fewer employees, employees may accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time and 32 hours of unpaid sick time.

10 Employees Of More

Michigan Businesses with 10 or more employees may accrue up to a maximum of 72 hours of paid sick leave.  There is no allowance for unpaid sick leave here, all 72 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

The new Michigan Act states that unused employee sick time must be carried over to the next year.  Here's an example, if your employee accrues 30 hours of sick time, but only uses 10 hours on sick days, there is a remaining balance of 20 sick hours.  Employers must carry the 20 hours over into the new year, the employee will effectively start the year with a positive bank of 20 sick hours. 

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 9, 2019, to March 8, 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 9 or fewer employees mandate one sick time cap, and 10 or more employees mandate a higher sick time cap


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