On December 14th, Governor Rick Snyder signed into effect an act that mandates paid medical leave in the State of Michigan. This paid leave can be used by employees for physical, mental, injury or health care needs involving themselves or their family members. A family member is defined as a child, parent or sibling (biological, step, adopted, foster or legal ward), spouse (legally married), grandparent and grandchild. The leave can be for the diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventative measures to address the condition. Additionally, paid medical leave can be used to cover workplace or school closures for public health emergencies, leaves due to exposure to communicable diseases and leaves involving domestic situations or sexual assault covering medical care, counseling, services, relocation, participation in legal services and criminal proceedings.1
With the Paid Medical Leave Act scheduled to take effect on March 29, 2019, it is important to know the main aspects of the act. Here are some of the main points:2
- The law pertains to employers with 50 or more employees, both full time and part time.
- Accrual is calculated at 1 hour for every 35 actual hours worked.
- Employers are not required to allow the accrual of over 1 hour in a calendar week or more than 40 hours in a benefit year.
- Hours must be used in one-hour increments, unless company policy dictates otherwise.
- Employees are allowed to carry over up to 40 hours of unused accrued paid medical leave from one benefit year to the next (with some exceptions).
- Employers can provide leave through paid vacation days, paid personal days, and paid time off.
- Medical leave may be provided all at once by giving at least 40 hours at the beginning of the benefit year or on the date that the individual becomes eligible during the benefit year. In this situation, the law does not require carry-over of unused leave to the next benefit year.
- The rate of paid leave must be equal or greater to employee’s regular wage or the Michigan minimum wage.
- Employers are required to keep documentation for not less than 1 year and maybe longer depending on other laws that could apply.
- Employers can mandate up to a 90-day waiting period for new hires.
- Employees should be given 3 days or more to provide leave documentation
- Employers are required to treat documentation received regarding leaves as confidential.
- Employees must follow the employer’s usual procedure for requesting time off.
- Employers are required to update their required posting to include the Paid Medical Leave Act or face potential penalties.
- If an employer violates this Act, the penalty is $1,000.00.
There are several examples of employees that are ineligible for the paid medical leave. Some of these include executive and administrative (overtime exempt), employees covered by a private collective bargaining, U.S. government employees, employees in other states or a political subdivision of another state, those who primary work location is not in Michigan, 16-19-year old employees paid through the youth training wage, temporary employees, those covered by the Railway Labor Act and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act and those who work 25 weeks or less in a calendar year or worked less than 25 weeks in the prior year. For a complete list, visit http://www.michigan.gov/wagehour for more details.1
As the March 29th deadline draws closer, if you are an employer of 50 or more employees, you should:
- Review and update your policies regarding paid leaves, attendance, leaves of absence, benefits at termination and work rules
- Update your required postings
- Establish a method of documenting paid medical leaves
- Review and update your policies on maintaining confidentiality of employee files
- Contact an HR consultant to help implement a plan of compliance
- Schedule an HR audit
Should you need more clarification regarding this or any other HR matter, contact Sage Solutions Group at 734-855-7187 or visit us on the web at www.sagesolutionsgroup.com. Sage offers a free HR audit to assess your current HR health, call now to schedule before the deadline.