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Michigan Court of Claims asked to wait on enacting paid leave, minimum wage decisions

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The state has filed a formal motion asking the Michigan Court of Claims to put a stay on a decision to boost the state’s minimum wage and require employers to provide earned sick leave. That’s after Judge Douglas Shapiro ruled the Legislature violated the state constitution when it acted to preempt the goals of two petition initiatives.

The Court of Claims decisions called foul on the Legislature’s response to two 2018 petition initiatives. The GOP-led House and Senate adopted the initiatives but then amended them into new, water-down versions.

Without a stay, the decisions would take effect next month.

Mark Brewer is an attorney who filed the challenge. He said the Court of Claims judge should stick with his decision and allow the original initiatives to go into effect. That would allow the state minimum wage increase to $12 an hour to take effect in early August.

“For three and a half years, every Michigan worker has been denied their right to earned paid sick time,” he told Michigan Public Radio. “For that same period, many Michigan workers have been denied an overdue increase in the minimum wage.”

The 2018 minimum wage initiative would have raised the state minimum wage to $12 an hour by this year. The Republican-led Legislature instead adopted the initiative and then, in the same session, swapped in a different plan to gradually raise the wage to $12.05 an hour, but that would have taken until 2030.

Brian Calley is the president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. He told Michigan Public Radio the Court of Claims decision would be a scheduling and financial disaster for restaurants and other small businesses.

“It’s wholly unreasonable to do that in such a light-switch fashion where one day it’s one way and the court expects that the next day it will be another way,” he said.

Calley said there should be a stay on the decision while the case goes to the Michigan Court of Appeals and, possibly, the Michigan Supreme Court.

Copyright 2022 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Rick Pluta | MPRN