Michigan recently implemented a Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) to go into effect March 29, 2019, at which point employees will begin accruing paid medical leave time.

Covered Employers
Employers subject to PMLA are those with 50 or more individuals. As of early March 2019, PMLA does not specify if the ’50 or more individuals’ is based solely on the employer’s Michigan-only workforce or its total workforce. For now, employers should assume that they are subject to PMLA with 50 employees in its total workforce. We will alert employers if that is later clarified to indicate otherwise.

Eligible Employees
To be eligible for the PMLA, employees must have averaged at least 25 hours a week in the preceding calendar year and their primary work location must be in Michigan.

PMLA does not apply to:

  • Employees who are exempt from overtime under FLSA
  • Private sector employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement
  • Certain temporary employees who are disqualified from receiving benefits under the Michigan Employment Security Act
    • The definition provided by the Michigan Employment Security Act of such employees is as follows: was employed by a temporary help firm, which as used in this section means an employer whose primary business is to provide a client with the temporary services of 1 or more individuals under contract with the employer, to perform services for a client of that firm if each of the following conditions is met:
      • The temporary help firm provided the employee with a written notice before the employee began performing services for the client stating in substance both of the following:
        • That within 7 days after completing services for a client of the temporary help firm, the employee is under a duty to notify the temporary help firm of the completion of those services
        • That a failure to provide the temporary help firm with notice of the employee's completion of services pursuant to the subparagraph above constitutes a voluntary quit that will affect the employee's eligibility for unemployment compensation should the employee seek unemployment compensation following completion of those services
      • The employee did not provide the temporary help firm with notice that the employee had completed his or her services for the client within 7 days after completion of his or her services for the client
  • Employees whose primary work location is not in Michigan
  • 16 to 19-year-old individuals being paid the youth training wage
  • Individuals who are considered variable hour employees under federal tax regulations as defined in 26 CFR 54.4980H-1
    • This is the definition of a variable hour, as defined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Employers using the look-back method to determine their full-time employees would need to be unable to determine, at the time of hire, whether an employee is expected to work at least 30 hours a week or more. As with the stipulations under the ACA, it does not appear as though employers may take into account the duration of an employee’s assignment under this exception. 
  • Employees covered by the Railway Labor Act and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act
  • Employees who were employed for 25 weeks or fewer in a calendar year for a job scheduled for 25 weeks or fewer
  • Individuals who worked an average of less than 25 hours per week in the preceding calendar year

Accrual Rate
Employees must begin accruing PMLA as of March 29, 2019 or as of their employment start date; whichever is later. Employees accrue 1 hour of paid medical leave (PML) for every 35 hours worked. Additionally, an employer does not have to allow an eligible employee to accrue more than 1 hour per calendar week. PML time is capped at a maximum accrual of 40 hours per year.

Usage and Carryover
Employers may implement a waiting period of up to 90 calendar days before employees may begin using time accrued under the PMLA. Additionally, employees may carry over 40 hours of PML time each year, however, an employer may limit the amount of time an employee can take under PMLA to 40 hours per year.

To avoid the accrual and carryover requirements under the PMLA, employers may frontload at least 40 hours of paid medical leave time at the beginning of the year. It's also important to note that the PMLA permits proration of paid medical leave for employees hired during a benefit year.

“Paid leave” time under the PMLA includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Paid vacation days
  • Paid personal days
  • Paid time off (PTO)

PML must be taken in at least 1-hour increments, unless the employer has a different increment policy already in place for other leaves. Employees are required to continue to follow their normal notification process and documentation requirements for requesting leave that their employer already has in place. Employees must be given at least 3 days to provide any employer required documentation.

Employees may use leave due to:

  • Physical or mental health condition of the employee or family member
  • Medical diagnosis, care or treatment of the employee or family member
  • Preventive care of the employee or family member
  • Closure of the employee’s business or child’s school or place of care that has been closed due to a public health emergency
  • Services or proceedings due to domestic violence or sexual assault of the employee

The definition of family member does not include domestic partners. Family members include:

  • Biological, adopted or foster children
  • Stepchildren
  • Legal wards
  • Biological parents, foster parents, stepparents, adoptive parents or legal guardian of an employee
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Biological siblings, adopted siblings and foster siblings
  • Any legally married spouse of the employee

Next Steps
Employers need to verify that they have a policy that complies with the accrual, usage and carryover provisions of Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act. Employers also must place a notice in a conspicuous space to make employees aware of their rights under the act. This poster is provided by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at no cost.

Please contact your Assurance representative with any questions.

Information contained herein is not intended to constitute tax or legal advice and should not be used for purposes of evading or avoiding otherwise applicable regulatory responsibilities as issued by the federal or state government(s) and/or taxes owed under the Internal Revenue Code. You are encouraged to seek advice from your legal or tax advisor based on your circumstances.