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State lawmakers try to ban cities' deciding paid sick leave

Does your employer offer paid sick leave? Should paid sick leave be required of Michigan businesses, large and small? How much discretion should Michigan cities and townships have in determining the amount of paid sick leave employees get?

Some state lawmakers have tried to answer some of these questions by passing a bill that would strictly limit the power of local governments in matters of required sick leave. In particular, a majority of Republicans in the state Senate voted in favor of prohibiting local governments from requiring paid sick leave time that exceeds the amounts already required by Michigan and federal laws.

The bill is a preemptive measure, given that no Michigan cities have even enacted such a requirement. However, other cities, such as Seattle and San Francisco, do require more paid sick leave than the federal and state governments do.

Groups in favor of the bill include the Michigan Restaurant Association, which claims that required paid sick leave would hurt business, as well as lead to fewer hours for workers.

Those against the bill, including Senator Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, say that paid sick leave cuts the cost of healthcare, keeps other workers from getting sick and improves employees' morale and performance. She also pointed out that the bill greatly limits the control of local communities.

One state representative, Rudy Hobbs of Southfield, countered the Senate bill with a House bill that would require paid sick leave for all Michigan workers -- 40 hours for employees of small businesses and a minimum of 72 hours for workers at larger companies.

Workers in Detroit who believe they have been mistreated with regard to their time off should be aware of not only the specifics of company policy but also state and federal laws. Workplace discrimination or mistreatment of any kind is illegal, and an employment law attorney can clarify what options are available for protecting a worker's rights.

As for the outcome of the recently approved Senate bill, Michigan residents will have to wait to see what the state House decides.

Source: mlive.com, "Local rules requiring minimum paid time off would be banned under Michigan Senate-approved bill," Melissa Anders, June 5, 2013

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