Today, outgoing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law an inadequate shell of a paid sick days bill. With this action, Gov. Snyder and the Republican-controlled legislature gutted the Earned Sick Time Act, which the legislature had adopted in September 2018 in order to keep it off the November ballot and out of voters’ hands. The bill Gov. Snyder signed today takes away protections for workers in smaller businesses, restricts worker’s eligibility for paid sick time, slashes the number of hours employees are able to earn to care for themselves and their loved ones, restricts the family members for whom paid sick time can be used and creates a loophole that allows companies to evade the requirements enumerated in the original law.
The MI Time to Care coalition, which led the campaign for paid sick days in Michigan, has filed paperwork to collect signatures to put the original comprehensive policy on the ballot in 2020.
“Make no mistake, Gov. Snyder did not sign a paid sick days bill today — he sided with corporate interests and undermined the health of working people, families and communities in Michigan,” said Vicki Shabo, vice president for workplace policies and strategies at the National Partnership for Women & Families. “The attempt by lawmakers to subvert the will of Michiganders is a sign that opponents understand they cannot democratically defeat paid sick days, which are overwhelmingly popular with voters. The National Partnership will continue to stand with working people in Michigan who currently face impossible choices between their health and economic security. And we will continue our longtime work in coalition with hundreds of other groups to advocate to the 116th Congress for a national paid sick days standard, the Healthy Families Act, which would allow America’s workers to earn real paid sick time.”
While access to paid sick days has increased in recent years, more than 34 million private sector workers cannot earn a single paid sick day and large disparities in access exist by job type, industry and wage level. In September, Michigan became the 11th state to pass a paid sick days law.