New Minimum Wage Law Creates Unintended Headaches

Michigan employers could be forced to pay overtime to salaried professional employees starting October 1, unless a legislative fix is adopted quickly.

The state’s minimum wage was to be increased in increments beginning this year, under legislation passed in late spring. The legislation was hastily approved because of political maneuvering, causing errors to be made in the bill drafting.

Because Michigan’s minimum wage will soon surpass the federal limit, the unintended effect was to circumvent federal minimum wage exemptions. One such exemption allowed Michigan employers to avoid paying overtime to salaried professional employees and certain motor carrier employees.

MITA has joined the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and a large coalition of other state employers to get a quick fix adopted in time to avoid the unexpected hit to employers. The Legislature has limited session days between now and the effective date of the changes. MITA and the coalition are pushing for changes to be adopted at the end of August or return for special session days in September. A bill has been introduced to address this problem (House Bill 6213) .

Unfortunately, solutions are never simple in the legislative arena. Governor Granholm is trying to use the urgent need for these changes as leverage to force the Republican Legislature to adopt other legislation that they oppose. The governor and legislative leaders are now in negotiations to determine what is necessary in order for the minimum wage exemptions to be reinstated.

MITA is encouraging members to contact the governor and your state legislators to urge support for House Bill 6213. A sample letter is attached . Members can find their legislators by visiting the legislative page on the MITA Web site and clicking on the legislative page zip code search .

If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Relations at; or Keith Ledbetter, Director of Legislative Affairs at; or by calling the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.