07 December 2023

Michigan Supreme Court Hears Arguments on “Adopt and Amend.” Court’s Decision Will Have Implications for Michigan’s Minimum Wage and Paid Medical Leave Act

Today, the Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Mothering Justice v. Attorney General, and will ultimately determine whether the 2018 Michigan Legislature’s use of the “adopt-and-amend” strategy related to two ballot initiatives violates the Michigan Constitution. The Court’s ruling will impact two laws:  the current minimum wage (called the Improved Workforce Opportunity Act) and the current Paid Medical Leave Act. The Court could decide to reinstate the versions of those laws originally proposed by the ballot initiatives in 2018, which would have a significant impact on all employers in Michigan.

Based on the Justices’ questions of the parties during today’s oral arguments, the Court appears divided, and there is no clear answer on how it will ultimately decide the case. However, the Court’s questions did indicate that if it reinstates the prior versions of the minimum wage and sick leave laws, there would be serious concerns with doing so either retroactively or immediately. We believe it likely that Michigan employers would have some time to prepare if the ballot initiative versions of the minimum wage and paid sick leave are reinstated.

A number of questions about the impact of a potential decision remain, such as the timing of the decision and whether the Michigan Legislature would respond to a ruling by developing new legislation. Miller Johnson is closely monitoring the case and will continue to alert clients of important developments.

For more details and additional background, please see our previous client alerts on the case:

If you have any questions, please contact one of the authors or a member of the Employment & Labor practice group.