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Michigan Republicans Temporarily Pass Laws In Order To Screw Workers Again

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https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2018/09/07/minimum-wage-hike-paid-sick-leave-celebrations-would-premature/1216457002/

Quote
Michigan's OK of minimum wage hike, paid sick leave has a big catch

LANSING — At first glance, low wage workers might have started celebrating Wednesday after the Michigan Legislature approved hiking the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022. That would be an enormous boost from the state’s $9.25 per hour minimum wage and well above the federal level of $7.25 per hour.

But any popping of champagne corks should be put on hold because the new wage, along with another law that would require employers to provide paid sick time to employees, will not go into effect until March 2019 and the laws are not expected to stand as passed by the Legislature.

That’s because the effort to pass the two  measures was more about keeping the issues off the Nov. 6 ballot and giving the Legislature the power to amend the two laws with a simple majority. If the proposals had gone to the ballot and were passed by voters, it would take a three-quarters majority to amend the laws.

Republicans in both the state Senate and House of Representatives were the driving force behind passing the two proposals that they didn’t like, but wanted to more easily change after the Nov. 6 election.
Many Democrats found themselves voting against proposals that they fundamentally supported, but disagreed with the prospect of changes that will inevitably come after the elections.

There is little that Democrats can do to stop amendments that will likely come to the two laws in the lame duck session that is scheduled for four weeks in November and December. That's because Republicans hold a 27-10 majority in the Senate and a 63-46 advantage in the House of Representatives.

So how might the Legislature change the measures?

Remove tipped employees from the minimum wage increase, which under the ballot proposal would be phased in through 2024. Tipped employees, like wait staff and bartenders, are paid $3.52 per hour and if their tips don’t get them at or beyond the current minimum wage of $9.25, the employers are supposed to make up the difference. Some restaurant workers urged the Legislature to pass the proposal so they could be removed from the increase in order to preserve their tips, which often put them above $12 per hour.

Change the minimum wage increase to somewhere above $9.25, but below $12 per hour.

Lengthen the phase-in time for the wage hikes. As proposed, the minimum wage would go from $9.25 to $10 on Jan. 1, 2019, $10.65 on Jan. 1, 2020, $11.35 on Jan. 1, 2021 and $12 on Jan. 1, 2022.

The paid sick time proposal requires employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works. But that provision could be modified or eliminated altogether.

Republican lawmakers weren’t willing to get into specifics on how they might change the proposal after approving the measures on Wednesday. But it was clear they intend to amend the laws.
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