10 January 2023

What’s in Store from the New Democrat Legislature in Michigan?

With the swearing in of the new Michigan House and Senate on January 11, Democrats will have full control of Michigan’s state government for the first time in 40 years. What could this mean for Michigan employers in 2023?

A top priority for many Democrat leaders is repeal of Michigan’s “Right to Work” law.  This law allows a worker in a union-represented workforce to refuse to join or pay dues to the union.  Since a Republican-controlled Legislature enacted the law in 2012, the percentage of Michigan workers who are union members has declined from 16.6 percent in 2012 to 13.3 percent in 2021.

Michigan employers are also facing potential increases in the minimum wage, removal of the tip credit, and increased paid leave requirements beginning February 20, 2023, depending on the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the 2018 state Legislature’s “adopt-and-amend” strategy.  (A Miller Johnson client alert from last month regarding the potential minimum wage increases may be found here.)  The new Legislature might decide to pass new minimum wage or paid leave laws, and thereby preempt the litigation, but there has been no indication to date that this will happen.

Other possible changes employers might see from the new state Legislature are job protection for employees who use recreational marijuana, the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories under Michigan’s civil rights law (codifying a Michigan Supreme Court decision last July), and pay transparency requirements like those emerging in other states.


If you have any questions on how Michigan’s new Legislature could affect your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the author, Brett Swearingen, or another employment and labor attorney at Miller Johnson.