Client Alerts

If Pain, Yes Gain—Part 63: Do Michigan’s Paid Sick Leave Law Lame Duck Amendments Have a Leg to Stand On?


Seyfarth Synopsis: Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act  went into effect on March 29, 2019, but will it remain valid law?  The Michigan Supreme Court is considering whether the state legislature’s action amending the law was constitutional.  For now, employers should comply with the law as amended, but stay tuned for possible changes.

Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act (“PMLA”) went into effect on March 29, 2019.  At least for now, Michigan employers need to comply with the PMLA as amended by the state legislature in December 2018.  See our PMLA alert for information regarding compliance requirements.  But the version of the law that went into effect in late-March might not be permanent. 

As we previously reported, the new state legislature has requested that the Michigan Supreme Court issue an advisory opinion regarding the constitutionality of the amendments.  As noted in our PMLA alert, Michigan’s paid sick leave law was originally a ballot initiative known as the Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”), which the outgoing GOP-controlled legislature approved last September in order to avoid the possibility of it passing by public vote.  The lame duck legislature, through its power to amend, revamped ESTA and turned it into what is now the more employer-friendly PMLA.  At issue is whether the legislature violated the Michigan Constitution by changing citizen-initiated laws during the same session in which they were enacted.[1]

The Michigan Supreme Court is now considering the constitutionality of the PMLA.  Oral arguments are scheduled for July 17, 2019.  If the court ultimately decides to issue on advisory option and finds that the legislature’s amended paid sick leave law and the way it was passed are unconstitutional, it could pave the way for the law to eventually revert back to its pre-amendment version, summarized in our ESTA alert.  We will be sure to keep you posted on further updates.

To stay up-to-date on Paid Sick Leave developments, click here to sign up for Seyfarth’s Paid Sick Leave mailing list.  Companies interested in Seyfarth’s paid sick leave laws survey should reach out to

If you would like further information, please contact Tracy M. Billows at, Joshua D. Seidman at, or Renate M. Walker at

[1] The legislature also amended a new citizen-initiated minimum wage law during the 2018 lame duck legislative session.