Michigan Labor Laws

Michigan labor laws are meant to protect both employers and employees alike.

Wage and Hour Laws in Michigan

Michigan pay laws are enforced and interpreted by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' Wage and Hour Division. There are, however, now law that forces employers to pay wages due if there is a dispute between the two parties.

Wage and Hour Laws in Michigan: Deductions from Wages

If an employer wants to deduct wages for the company's benefit, the affected employee must first provide written consent. Common deduction causes could be from shortages of cash, damage or breakage, lost property belonging to the employer, mandatory uniforms or tools, and other things that are necessary for the job. However, the employer can't give any type of threat or coercion in an attempt to get consent from the employee.

An employer is not legally allowed to deduct or withhold an employee's wages from their paycheck except in the following situations:

  • the employer is allowed or mandated to do so by law
  • the employer is allowed or mandated due to a collective bargaining agreement
  • the employer receives written consent for the withholding, and does so with coercing the employee

In some cases, an employer can take a withholding from a paycheck due to overpayment even without first receiving written consent. These situations include:

  • overpayment due to a miscalculation, typing or clerical error, or misprint
  • the mistake causing the overpayment was because of the employer, an employee, or a representative of either one
  • when the employer gives the employee an explanation in writing as to the cause of the deduction. It should be received no less than one pay period prior to the deduction being take out of the employee's wages
  • the deduction amount is less than 15% of the employee's gross wages for the affected pay period
  • the deduction occurs after all deductions have been made that are required by law or due to a collective bargaining agreement
  • the deduction doesn't decrease the employee's gross wages that is either greater than the federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage, whichever is less
  • the deduction has to happen by six months after overpayment
  • overpayment is from an error or misprint
  • the employee is given the reasons for the withholding a minimum of one period before it occurs
  • the deduction doesn't decrease the effective wage rate of the employee

Wage and Hour Laws in Michigan: Minimum Wage

Employers in Michigan are required to pay their employees the highest minimum wage out of the three potential laws: federal, state, and local. They must also follow the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which determines standards for wage and hours, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and similar protections regarding wages.

In Michigan, recent minimum wage rates are as follows:

  • $9.25 in 2018
  • $8.90 in 2017
  • $8.50 in 2016

The current federal minimum wage is just $7.25

Employers must pay the highest minimum wage applicable to employees, whether set by federal, state, or local law.

Wage and Hour Laws in Michigan: Overtime

Both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Michigan state law require Michigan employers to provide their employees with overtime pay. This applies to any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week at a rate of time and a half. Only nonexempt employees qualify for overtime pay. Exempt employees do not have eligibility status for overtime laws. Executive employees make a salary of at least $250 each week, primarily perform management duties, and has at least two employees under his or her supervision.

Anyone working in either retail or the service industry can get the executive exemption, unless more than 40% of their working hours are spent on non-executive responsibilities. In Michigan, administrative employees are also exempt from receiving overtime. An administrative employee must earn at least $250 each week as a salary and perform non-manual duties concerning the business's general operations or administrating some type of educational facility.

Professional employees in Michigan are also considered exempt and cannot receive overtime pay. Work requirements for this designation include the same minimum salary of $250 each week and duties surrounding either science or specialized professional knowledge. Working in an artistic field also qualifies you for this exemption, as does using your artistic skills in a job such as a teacher, tutor, or other type of instructor.

Salesmen are not exempted from overtime pay or minimum wage in Michigan. Nor or skilled workers in the computer systems, programming, and software engineering fields automatically qualify for exemption.

Elected public officials, however, are considered exempt in Michigan, as are their political appointees, unless they're part of the civil service system.

Another exemption category is anyone working for an amusement facility that is only open seven months or less each year. Similarly, farming and agricultural employees are also considered exempt. Subcategories in this industry include soil cultivation, dairy, horticultural commodities, livestock, bees, animals, or poultry, forestry and lumber, or even farm operations like delivering goods to the market.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor created new federal regulations for overtime. The threshold for annual salary eligibility is now set to $47,476. This amounts to $913 earned weekly, which is much higher than the prior standard of $455 per week. As wages grow, these thresholds will most likely be updated once every three years. Doctors, teachers, and sales reps remain exempt from these changes in overtime from 2016.

Wage and Hour Laws in Michigan: Hours Worked (Compensable Time)

All Michigan employees must be paid by their employers for each hour they've worked. However, there's no distinction in the state's minimum wage law that discusses what counts as hours worked. Nor is there a definition for the workweek concerning how overtime and minimum wage are calculated. There's no requirement for how employers should consider waiting time by employees as hours worked.

There are also no guidelines on how to address on-call time, sleeping time, travel time, or time spent at lectures, trainings, or meetings as hours worked in relation to overtime and wages. Additionally, there is no rule surrounding whether or not an employer is required to pay an employee if s/he comes to work but there is no work actually performed. Employers are not required to pay for a minimum amount of hours if the employee is allowed to leave before their original shift is completed.

While the only requirement in Michigan is for employers to pay their employees for hours they've worked, federal standards from the FLSA regarding sleep, travel, on-call, waiting, and training time can all provide guidance on how Michigan employers should proceed. Still, there's no requirement that those federal laws be enforced.

Wage and Hour Laws in Michigan: Meals and Breaks

In Michigan, any employee who is younger than 18 years old must receive an uninterrupted break of 30 minutes during any shift lasting longer than five consecutive hours. Short breaks must also be paid, according to federal law. Any break that is between five and 20 minutes is included in the workday, meaning employers must pay their employees during this time.

For employers 18 years or older in Michigan, there is no legal requirement regarding breaks of any kind, whether they're rest periods or meals of any length of time.

In order to not pay an employee for a break period, however, the employee must be complete relieved of his or her work-related responsibilities.

Michigan Wage Payment Laws: Frequency

Michigan employers have flexibility in how often they can pay their employees, including once a month, twice a month, bi-weekly, weekly, or even more often. There should, however, be designated paydays from the employer so employees know when to expect a paycheck.

For semi-monthly pay periods (which equates to twice a month), the employer must provide compensation for any wages that were earned during the first 15 days on or before the next month's first day. Concerning wages earned between the 16th and the month's final day, the employee must receive payment by the 15th of the next month.

For weekly or bi-weekly paydays, the employer is required to pay for hours worked within two weeks of the pay period's end from the time the wages were actually earned. For monthly paychecks, the employee should receive payment by the first day of the month directly after the month the wages were earned in.

Michigan Wage Payment Laws: Manner of Payment

There are several payment methods an employer can utilize to pay their employees in Michigan, including:

  • cash
  • check that can be cashed at a financial institution without paying a fee
  • direct deposit into an employee's bank account (after receiving written consent from the employee)
  • stored-value debit cards, paycards, or payroll cards

Time Off Work: Leave Laws

There are no requirements in Michigan requiring that employers provide any kind of paid leave, although lots of employers still provide paid leave benefits to their employees. These include vacation days, sick days, holidays, or personal paid time off days. One exception to the lack of Michigan law is the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA.

This law from the federal government states that any employer with 50 or more employers must provide qualifying employees with as much as 12 weeks of unpaid days each year. The time can be used to treat an illness, provide care to a family member, or bond with a new child. Employees must still receive their health benefits from their employer during this time.

Any employee taking FMLA leave mush also be able to return to his or her previous role, or a similar one in terms of work, pay, and benefits.

While some states add extra laws to the federal family and medical leave, Michigan does not have any additional legislation. If an employer creates its own leave benefits, it must uphold those policies created for the company or for an employee's individual contract. This includes an employer's ability to not pay out any accrued leave for vacation when an employee separates from the company. As long as the employee has agreed to the policy or accepted the contract, this practice is legal according to Michigan labor laws.

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