Dear Crabby, What’s Michigan Doing with the Minimum Wage?

Dear Crabby, I’m Looking for a Job and I was Wondering What is Michigan Doing with the Minimum Wage Right Now?

Sincerely, Mo Money

Dear Mo,

The economy is so good right now, this issue is not getting much attention. But here’s the quick scoop: to avoid the minimum wage increase being on the ballot in the recent election (remember the one where all the state ballots passed?), legislators approved two citizen-led initiatives in September. Now that we’re passed the election, those same legislators are changing the wording. So, instead of the minimum wage going from $9.25 to $12.00 per hour by 2022, it will now take until 2030 to reach that amount. They’re also changing how much paid sick time a worker would receive, and exempting tipped employees from that same wage increase.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

When I worked at an hourly wage, I was lucky if they were offering $2.00 per hour. Paid sick time? What paid sick time? “Get sick on your own time,” I was told. So you know what, I didn’t get sick. Men were tougher back then, and we died at an earlier age too. Times have changed.

The Michigan lawmakers are trying to adjust the sick time rules they put into place in September. It was supposed to be one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked (72 hours per year). Now, they want to adjust it to be one hour for every 40 hours worked (36 hours per year). Either way, it’s a mandated improvement. But there’s more to the story.

They real issue is tipped employees. Traditionally, wait staff, bartenders, and all tipped employees, received less per hour. Currently, it’s $3.52 per hour. The new law passed in September gets rid of the “Tipped” exemption and would put all tipped employees into the same group making the current minimum wage of $9.25 per hour. Now, they want to return to the previous system of less per hour (about 38 percent of minimum wage) with only a small increase per year. With the new amendments, tipped employees would make $4.00 per hour by 2030.

Representatives for the service industry of tipped workers claim that over time, their tips would decrease when the public learned they were making the full minimum wage. And that would decrease their overall income. I don’t think so. I feel, at least for a while, we the public would still tip the same way we have been – after all, the economy is good – and they would make even more income. Even in time, how much less would you tip? We’re programed now. It would take years to make a difference. However, if (and when) the economy heads south, we may adjust more quickly when our wallets are thinner.

Anyway, if the changes go into place, the traditional system for tipped employees stays in place and will include a provision that if the tips don’t bring an employee up to the minimum wage, the employer would have to make up the difference. This is a win for the government. All those tipped workers will have to keep track of all tips, even cash tips, to report for the purpose of being paid at least minimum wage. Which means, they get to tax you more efficiently. How much you bet cash tips still go straight into a pocket?

Michigan is still above the Federal Minimum Wage act and businesses are paying much more than either minimum wage right now. The free market and a good economy is working well for most people in workforce. Again, if the economy changes for the worse, those wage laws may be very much needed by the American workers.

Now stop bothering me and go find a job, they’re everywhere right now!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at DearCrabby@rochestermedia.com.

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