Table of contents
- Wage and Hour Laws
- Employee Compensation and Benefits
- Workplace Rights and Protections
- Child Labor Laws
- Workplace Safety and Health
- Labor Union Regulations
- Employment Contracts and Severance
- Pay Stub Requirements
- Additional Laws That Might Apply to You
- Navigating Legal Issues and Resources
What’s new in 2024
Wage and Hour Laws
Michigan’s minimum wage is set out under the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (IWOWA), which applies to employers with 2 or more employees aged 16 or older.
As of January 1, 2024, Michigan’s minimum wage is $10.33 per hour. The minimum wage will gradually increase to $12.05 by 2030.
There are some exceptions to the minimum wage requirement, including the following:
- Employers can pay minors 85% of the minimum wage ($8.78 per hour).
- Employers can pay new employees aged 16 to 19 $4.25 per hour during the first 90 days of employment.
If both the IWOWA and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply to an employer, they must comply with the IWOWA as it is higher than the federal minimum wage.
Michigan employers must display a minimum wage poster in the workplace.
Employees can file unpaid minimum wage or overtime complaints online with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). Complaints and civil actions for breaches of minimum wage and overtime laws can result in orders for employers to pay unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorney fees, and civil fines of up to $1,000.
Tipped Minimum Wage
From January 1, 2024, the tipped minimum wage in Michigan is $3.93 per hour.
The tipped minimum wage plus tips must add up to the standard minimum wage ($10.33 per hour). Otherwise, the employer must pay the difference.
To pay employees the tipped minimum wage, employers must notify employees about their tips policy and employees must report tips.
Tip pooling is allowed if employers notify employees in advance.
Employers covered by the IWOWA must pay employees 1.5 times their regular pay rate for any time over 40 hours in a workweek.
Some employees are exempt from these overtime provisions, including:
- Employees not covered by the minimum wage provisions of the FLSA or IWOWA.
- Professional, administrative, and executive employees.
- Agricultural employees.
Employers can schedule employees for mandatory overtime.
Under the IWOWA, employers can offer compensatory time instead of overtime. Compensatory time must be accrued at 1.5 hours for every 1 hour of overtime, up to 240 hours. Compensatory time must be paid at the same rate it was earned, as a minimum. Any overtime over 240 hours must be compensated as overtime wages.
To offer employees compensatory time, employers must meet certain conditions, including:
- Obtaining employees’ voluntary written agreement before working any overtime.
- Providing employees with a minimum of 10 paid annual leave days in addition to compensatory time.
- Maintaining a record of accrued and paid compensatory time.
Employers must allow employees to use their compensatory time as requested unless it would be “unduly disruptive” to the employer.
Employees must be paid their unused accrued compensatory time when they leave an organization.
Meal and Rest Breaks
Michigan doesn’t require employers to provide employees aged 18 years and over with meal or rest breaks.
However, employers must give employees under 18 a 30-minute break for every 5 hours they work.
Where an employer chooses to provide breaks, federal law applies. Under federal law, employers must pay employees for any time spent working during a break and for shorter breaks, i.e., 20 minutes or less.
Payday Frequency and Method
Michigan employers can pay employees weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, monthly, or more frequently as long as they have regular paydays.
Hand harvesters must be paid weekly unless their employment contract says otherwise.
Employers can pay employees’ wages by check, direct deposit, electronic transfer, or payroll debit card. Bank transfers and payroll debit cards require employees’ consent.
Wage Deductions and Garnishments
Employers must have employees’ voluntary written consent for any other deductions.
Deductions cannot result in employees earning less than the minimum wage. They must also be listed on employees’ pay stubs.
Employers can garnish up to 25% of an employee’s disposable earnings (money left after legal deductions, like taxes, are taken) or an amount of their disposable earnings over 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less.
There are different limits for garnishments related to child support, taxes, and federal student loans. For example, for child support, employers can garnish up to 50% of an employee’s disposable earnings if they support another child or 60% if there are no other children.
Michigan employers cannot fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee based on a wage garnishment.
Employers must keep records of employees’ names, addresses, dates of birth, occupations, and pay rates. For each pay period, employers must also record for each employee:
- Daily hours worked.
- Total hours worked.
- Total wages received.
- Any deductions.
- Any fringe benefits.
For tipped employees, employers must also keep a statement of tips and records of tip credits for each pay period.
Employers must keep these records for a minimum of 3 years.
Employee Compensation and Benefits
Final Paycheck Laws
Employers must pay employees their final paycheck on their next scheduled payday following their termination.
Hand-harvesting employees must be paid within 1 workday of their termination.
Employers who fail to provide final paychecks on time may face civil penalties of up to $1,000 and be ordered to pay unpaid wages and damages.
Reporting Time Pay
Michigan does not have reporting time pay laws.
Employers don’t have to pay employees for attending a shift but not working. If an employee only works part of their shift, the employer only has to pay them for the hours worked.
Employee Scheduling Laws
Michigan does not currently have any predictive scheduling laws.
However, House Bill 4035, the Employee Fair Scheduling Act, was introduced in January 2023 and is currently under review by the Committee on Labor. This bill will require employers to give employees written work schedules 14 days in advance if passed.
Michigan’s Workers’ Disability Compensation Act requires most employers to take out workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance covers:
- Medical benefits for treatment for a work-related illness or injury.
- Lost wages (after 7 days off work).
- Rehabilitation benefits.
- Disability benefits.
- Death benefits.
Employees who are injured or ill at work must notify their supervisor within 90 days. Depending on the circumstances, employees have 1 or 2 years to file a workers’ compensation claim.
When an employee notifies an employer of a workplace injury or illness, the employer reports it to their insurer. If the employer doesn’t do this, employees can file a claim directly with the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency (WDCA) using form WC-117.
If a worker’s injury lasts longer than 7 days or results in death or a specific loss, the employer must file a form WC-100 with their insurer and WDCA.
Where a dispute arises regarding a workers’ compensation claim, the WDCA may refer it for mediation or to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates to decide the matter.
Employers who are required to have workers’ compensation insurance but fail to do so may face civil lawsuits, fines, and work bans until they take out insurance.
Unemployment benefits provide financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Employer unemployment tax rates depend on various factors, including the years the business has operated and the industry it operates in. Employers must file Quarterly Wage/Tax Reports to calculate unemployment insurance tax.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, employees must:
- Be available and able to work while actively looking for full-time employment.
- Meet wage requirements over four of the last five calendar quarters.
The weekly benefit amount an employee receives each week is based on their quarterly wages, up to a maximum of $362.
Employees can access unemployment benefits for up to 20 weeks.
Employees can file for unemployment benefits with the Unemployment Insurance Agency on the phone or online. When applying, employees must provide various documents, including their ID, Social Security number, and employment history.
Workplace Rights and Protections
Discrimination and Harassment
Under these acts, employers cannot discriminate against applicants or employees based on their:
- National origin.
- Martial status.
- Arrest record.
- Genetic information.
This prohibition against discrimination applies to all employment decisions, including during hiring, promotion, access to training, and dismissal.
If an employee believes they have been discriminated against based on a protected characteristic, they can file a complaint online or by phone or email with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). They must do so within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
The MDCR investigates discrimination complaints by speaking with both parties and conducting site visits and witness interviews. If there is enough evidence of discrimination and a settlement cannot be reached, the MCDR may issue a charge of discrimination against the employer to be heard at a public hearing. If the hearing concludes the employer has engaged in discrimination, the employer can be ordered to take corrective action and pay damages.
Employees who believe they have been discriminated against can also sue an employer.
|𐄂 Family and Medical Leave
|Michigan has no family and medical leave law at the state level.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires Michigan employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for family and medical reasons.
|✔ Paid Sick Leave
|Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act applies to employers with 50 or more workers.
It allows eligible employees to accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours of work. Employers can cap this at 1 hour per week and 40 hours per year.
Employees can carry over a maximum of 40 hours of accrued paid sick leave into the following year. Alternatively, employers can give employees the total 40-hour allowance at the start of the year. If an employer does this, they don’t have to allow employees to carry over accrued paid sick leave.
Employers aren’t required to allow employees to use more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a year.
Employers can require employees to wait 90 days after starting employment to access accrued sick leave.
Employees can use this leave for:Their own or a family member’s illness, injury, or medical condition.Their own or a family member’s preventative care.The closure of their workplace due to a public health emergency.For childcare purposes, when a school is closed due to a public health emergency.Their or a family member’s exposure to a communicable disease.
Employees who are the victims of domestic violence or sexual assault can also use paid medical leave to take time off to:Attend medical or counseling appointments.Receive support from a victims’ services organization.Relocate.Obtain legal advice and attend legal proceedings.
To be eligible for paid sick leave, employees must work at least 25 hours a week for at least 26 weeks of the year.
This doesn’t apply to various categories of employees, including those who are:
Subject to collective bargaining agreements. Employed fewer than 25 weeks in a year.Working less than 25 hours per week in a year. Exempt from federal overtime laws.
|𐄂 Paid Family Leave
|Private employees do not have any paid family leave entitlements in Michigan.
Eligible employees may be able to access unpaid family leave under the FMLA.
|𐄂 Pregnancy and Parental Leave
|Employers are not required by state law to provide paid pregnancy or parental leave. Eligible employees may be able to access unpaid parental leave under the FMLA.
|𐄂 Vacation and Personal Leave
|While Michigan state employees are entitled to mandatory vacation leave, private employees are not. Where a private employer chooses to provide vacation or personal leave, the leave should comply with the terms of the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.
Where employees accrue paid vacation leave, employers must pay employees for this upon employment termination if a policy or the employment contract requires it. With employees’ written consent, employers can require employees to use accrued vacation leave within a specific time or lose it.
|𐄂 Holiday Leave
|While public sector employees in Michigan are entitled to certain paid holidays, private sector employees are not.
🧠 Did You Know?
With an online company knowledge base, you can store and share all workplace policies with your employees. You can even have your staff acknowledge that they’ve read and received them right from their mobile devices with a simple e-signature.
Military, Jury Duty, and Other Mandatory Leave
|Under state law, employees called to active service must be given unpaid, job-protected leave if they provide advance notice of their service.
The extent to which their job is protected depends on the length of service. Employees are generally not entitled to reinstatement after 5 years of service.
At the federal level, the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) also applies to Michigan employers.
|Jury Duty Leave
|Employers cannot retaliate against employees who take leave to attend jury service. Employers aren’t required to provide paid jury duty leave.
|Emergency Response Leave
|Emergency response leave in Michigan is mandatory for state employees only.
Child Labor Laws
The Youth Employment Standards Act (YESA) applies to all Michigan employers who hire minors (i.e., those under 18).
Some minors are exempt from YESA, including:
- 16 and 17-year-olds who have graduated high school.
- Emancipated minors.
- Domestic workers in private residences.
- Minors working for a family-owned and operated business.
Generally speaking, a minor must be 14 years old to be employed in Michigan. Minors:
- Cannot work more than 10 hours a day or 6 days a week.
- Cannot work during school hours.
- Must be supervised by an adult—i.e., a person over 18 must be available on the premises.
- Cannot sell or serve alcohol.
- Can work in a business that serves alcohol only if food and other goods make up at least 50% of the business’s total sales. However, they cannot work in the areas where alcohol is consumed.
If covered by YESA, minors must have a work permit before starting work. They can apply for a permit via the Wage and Hour Division or their school. Minors must have a work permit for each employer, and permits may be revoked for poor academic performance.
|14 and 15-year-olds
|16 and 17-year-olds
|When school is in session
|School attendance and work hours cannot be more than 48 hours a week.
|Up to 24 work hours per week.
|When school isn’t in session
|Up to 48 work hours per week.
|Limit on hours
|Cannot work before 7am or after 9pm.
|When school is in session, cannot work before 6am or after 10:30pm from Sunday to Thursday or after 11:30pm on Friday and Saturday.When school isn’t in session, cannot work after 11:30pm.The Wage and Hour Division can approve earlier starts and later finishes for 16- and 17-year-olds.
|Limit on types of work
|Minors are prohibited from being employed in various hazardous occupations, including those involving:
Hazardous substances or chemicals.Logging and sawmilling.Construction sites.Power-driven equipment or tools.Firearms or explosives.
16- and 17-year-olds may be able to work in some prohibited occupations under certain conditions. For example, they can work in amusement parks by taking tickets and helping customers on and off rides.
For more information, view Michigan’s complete list of prohibited and restricted occupations.
Employers must keep specific records for minor employees, including:
- Proof of age.
- Valid work permit.
- G.E.D. or high school diploma.
- Records of work hours, including start, end, and break times.
Employers who fail to follow YESA requirements may be charged with a misdemeanor and face a $500.00 fine and/or up to 1 year imprisonment.
Child labor laws under the federal FLSA may also apply to employers. If the FLSA and YESA apply to an employer with conflicting provisions, the stricter provision applies.
Employers must display a YESA poster in the workplace
Workplace Safety and Health
Michigan has a state plan under the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health (MIOSH) Act approved by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
This state plan applies to most private sector employees and all government workers and is administered by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).
The plan sets out general health and safety standards for workplaces and more specific standards for industries such as construction and agriculture.
Employers’ key responsibility under the MIOSH Act is to provide a safe workplace for employees, free from hazards. As part of this, employers must:
- Report workplace fatalities to MIOSHA by phone within 8 hours.
- Report severe workplace injuries and illnesses to MIOSHA online or by phone within 24 hours. Severe injuries and illnesses are those resulting in the loss of an eye, amputation, or in-patient hospitalization.
- Provide employees with personal protection equipment when required by MIOSHA standards.
- Allow MIOSHA representatives to access the workplace for inspections or investigations.
- Keep records of toxic and harmful substances.
- Have a hazardous chemical communication system in place to tell employees about hazardous chemicals they may be exposed to.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against a worker for filing a complaint with MIOSHA or participating in an MIOSHA investigation.
Employees must comply with the rules and regulations under the MIOSH Act. Employee rights under the act include the right to:
- Be informed by their employer of their protections and obligations under MIOSHA.
- Request an MIOSHA inspection when they suspect a safety standard has been violated.
- Be immediately notified if they’re exposed to toxic or harmful substances in the workplace.
Labor Union Regulations
Michigan is currently a right-to-work state. Employees cannot be required to join or pay fees to a labor organization.
However, from March 30, 2024, Michigan will no longer be a right-to-work state. This means that employees in unionized workplaces can be required to join a union and pay union fees as a condition of their employment.
The Labor Relations and Mediation Act applies to private employers not covered exclusively by the federal National Labor Relations Act and governs labor relations in Michigan. The Michigan Employment Relations Commission hears labor disputes and allegations of unfair labor practices.
Employment Contracts and Severance
Employment Contract Laws
Michigan is an at-will employment state. If an employment contract doesn’t state otherwise, the employer and employee can terminate the employment at any time for any legal reason or no reason.
Employment contracts in Michigan can be written or oral.
Non-compete and non-solicitation clauses can be included in employment contracts. Still, they must be reasonable regarding geography, duration, and the type of employment and address a legitimate business interest.
Michigan has introduced HB 4874, proposing additional requirements for non-competes in the state. These include notifying prospective applicants in writing and prohibiting them from being used by employees who earn below a certain amount. The bill is yet to be passed by the House or Senate.
Michigan employers aren’t legally required to offer severance pay when an employee leaves a job.
Pay Stub Requirements
When paying employee wages, employers must provide employees with pay stubs that detail:
- Number of hours the employee worked.
- Their gross wages.
- Dates of the pay period.
- Any deductions.
Hand harvester employees’ pay stubs must also include the total number of units harvested.
Employers can provide electronic payslips as long as employees can print a copy when their wages are paid.
Additional Laws That Might Apply to You
|Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law
|Michigan prohibits smoking in all public places, including enclosed work areas. Employers must post “No Smoking” signs where smoking is prohibited.
|Whistleblowers’ Protection Act
|Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees for:Reporting a breach of a law, rule, or regulation.Participating in a hearing, investigation, or court action.
Employers who violate this law risk fines of up to $500, plus orders to pay back wages, actual damages, and costs or reinstate the employee.
|Clean Slate Act
|Certain criminal convictions are automatically set aside after a certain amount of time passes: 10 years for no more than 2 felony convictions and 7 years for certain misdemeanors.
This means employers cannot see these records when conducting background checks.
|Internet Privacy Protection Act
|Employers cannot ask applicants or employees for personal social media passwords or retaliate against those who refuse to provide them.
|Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act
|Employers with 4 or more employees must allow employees to view their personnel records when they request to do so in writing. Requests are generally capped at 2 times a year unless a collective bargaining agreement or law says otherwise.
Employees can also request copies of their personnel records after viewing it. Employers can charge employees for copying fees.
If employees disagree with information in their records, employers may agree to correct or remove it. Where employers refuse to do so, employees can add a written statement to their record, up to a maximum of 5 pages.
COVID-19 Related Laws and Regulations
The COVID-19 Employment Rights Act prohibited employees from going to work after a positive COVID test, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or being in close contact with someone with COVID-19 until they had isolated. This law was repealed as of July 1, 2023.
Employees who need to take COVID-related leave may be entitled to access accrued paid sick leave or unpaid FMLA.
COVID-related changes to the MIOSH Act have also been repealed. Employers are still required to provide employees with a safe working environment free from hazards.
Navigating Legal Issues and Resources
The government departments and agencies referred to throughout this article offer various employment law resources via their websites, including:
- Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity
- Michigan Department of Civil Rights
- Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration
For employees and small business owners, the following services may be able to provide free employment advice and information:
- Detroit Bar Association Legal Services Clinic
- Michigan Chamber of Commerce (for members)
- Michigan Legal Help
Ultimately, the best way to understand your obligations as an employer or rights as an employee in Michigan is to seek legal advice from an employment lawyer. They can provide advice tailored to your situation based on your current legal position.
The information presented on this website about labor laws in Michigan is intended to be a summary for informational purposes only. However, laws and regulations regularly change and may vary depending on individual circumstances. While we have made every effort to ensure the information provided is up-to-date and reliable, we cannot guarantee its completeness, accuracy, or applicability to your specific situation. Therefore, we strongly recommend that readers seek guidance from their legal department or a qualified attorney to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Please note that we cannot be held liable for any actions taken or not taken based on the information presented on this website.