Covered employers in Michigan will be required, effective March 29, 2019, by statewide mandate to provide paid medical leave to eligible employees for covered absences under the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act.
What employers and employees need to know
Under the Act, covered employers include private sector employers employing 50 or more individuals. Eligible employees include those who work for a covered employer for an average of 25 or more hours per week in the immediately preceding calendar year, and their primary work location is in Michigan. Exceptions include but are not limited to executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees exempt from overtime pay under federal law, certain seasonal and variable hour employees, and employees younger than 18 years of age.
Under the Michigan PMLA, accrued hours are capped at 40 per year, with employees being able to accrue paid leave at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours worked. Under the PMLA, eligible employees begin to accrue paid medical leave hours upon hire, but employers can require employees wait until the 90th calendar day following their start date before being able to use any accrued time.
There is a provision that allows eligible employees to carry over up to 40 hours of unused accrued paid medical leave from one benefit year to the next. However, employers can eliminate the possibility of carry-over hours by frontloading all 40 hours of leave at the start of the benefit year.
Qualified paid medical leave may be taken for reasons including an employee attending to their own health issues, a family member’s health or medical issues, and an employee or employee’s family member requiring time to deal with issues from domestic violence.
Employers also are required to keep employee records for one year and must display a poster about PMLA in a conspicuous location at work, such as a breakroom. This poster, provided by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, must include information such as terms under which paid medical leave can be taken and a section stating that employees may file an administrative complaint for a violation. Employers are not required to distribute a notice to each employee.
For eligible employees, the PMLA requires they comply with their employer’s customary notice, procedures, and documentation requirements when requesting leave.
What do businesses need to do to be compliant with PMLA?
In some cases, nothing.
The language of Michigan’s PMLA establishes a rebuttable presumption of compliance for employers that provide employees with at least 40 hours of paid leave each benefit year, where paid leave includes, but is not limited to, paid vacation days, paid personal days, and paid time off. So, if an employer is providing at least 40 hours of any of these provisions to eligible employees as defined under the PMLA, they may in fact be compliant under the new law. There remains some uncertainty as to whether the PTO must be available in at least the same amounts, for the same purposes, and under the same conditions as paid sick leave that we hope will be resolved in forthcoming guidance from the state.
Paychex will continue to monitor for further guidance related to the Paid Medical Leave Act. For more information or to review the statute, please check out the Michigan Department of Labor website.