In the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the CDC has recommended that everyone take steps to protect themselves and their communities, including avoiding close contact with others. If you have to take time off work sick or your workplace is closed, what are your legal rights? If your child’s school is closed, can you stay home with your children?
Find out more about your earned paid sick time or earned paid sick leave rights in Michigan below.
1) What does the Michigan Paid Sick Time law do?
It gives workers up to 40 hours of sick time a year, which can be used to recover from physical/mental illness or injury; to seek medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; to care for a family member who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; when the worker’s place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency; to care for themselves or a family member when a public health authority or health care provider determines that the worker or family member’s presence in the community presents a public health risk because of exposure to a communicable disease (regardless of whether the individual has contracted the disease); or to address needs that may arise if the worker or a family member is a victim of domestic violence or a sexual offense.
Please note that many of these purposes can apply to health needs related to COVID-19.*
*Between April 3, 2020 and October 2020, a statewide Executive Order may have provided certain workers with additional sick time rights in relation to COVID-19. For more information, see the expired order here.
2) Am I covered?
If you work as an employee in Michigan for an employer with 50 or more employees, you may be covered, whether you are a full-time, part-time, or temporary worker. However, the law does not cover government employees, workers whose primary work location is not in Michigan, workers exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (certain workers employed in a genuine executive, administrative, or professional capacity), workers employed by an employer for 25 weeks or fewer in a calendar year for a job scheduled for 25 weeks or fewer, workers who worked on average less than 25 hours per week during the immediately preceding calendar year, and a few other narrow groups.
3) How much paid sick time can I earn?
You earn 1 hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.
4) What if my work or my child’s school or daycare is closed for a health emergency?
You can use your sick time if your primary workplace is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.
5) Which of my family members are covered by the law?
Under the law, you can take sick time to care for yourself or a child, spouse, parent, parent of a spouse, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
6) What if I already have paid leave or paid time off?
If you already get any paid leave (vacation, paid time off, etc.) that you can use as sick time and it’s at least the same amount you would earn under this law, the law does not give you any additional paid time off.
7) When can I begin using my sick time?
You start earning sick time immediately but cannot use it until 90 days after the start of your employment.
8) Do I need a doctor’s note?
Yes, if your employer’s policy or usual practice requires it.
If you have a problem—or want more information—call A Better Balance’s free legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is in charge of enforcing this law.
Please note that this fact sheet does not represent an exhaustive overview of the paid sick time law described, and it does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that additional provisions not described in this fact sheet may apply to a worker’s specific circumstances or category of employment.
For the full list of state and local paid sick time laws, visit here.