Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as an hourly employee in Michigan?

April 9th 2024

As an hourly employee in Michigan, it is fundamental to deeply understand your employment rights and how it is applicable within the employment landscape in both the general and legal sense as this will equip you with the confidence required to effectively navigate your professional career path.

The compensation for the hours you invest profoundly influences your role within the workplace. However, the particular details of these arrangements can differ significantly from one state to another across the US. This may lead you to wonder about what your particular employment entitlements are and how to effectively assert them.

This article is tailored for hourly employees in Michigan, aiming to provide knowledge that not only upholds your employment rights, but also encourages you to proactively structure your work experience in accordance with the respective laws and regulations in the state of Michigan.

This Article Covers

Defining an Hourly Employee in Michigan
Wage and Hour Regulations in Michigan
Rest Laws in Michigan
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Michigan
Termination of Employment in Michigan

Defining an Hourly Employee in Michigan

What is Hourly Employment in Michigan?

Unlike salaried workers, whose salary remains fixed despite the actual hours worked in a week, hourly wage workers are employees whose remuneration is directly contingent on the aggregate hours worked in a given week.

Particular employment contracts are generally arranged between employers and hourly employees whereby specific tools like timecards or timesheets are utilized to record the working hours of employees. Employers of hourly workers are responsible for ascertaining the actual number of hours worked within a week.

Hourly wage employees are compensated based on the actual hours they have invested in their work. Consequently, this structure results in the fluctuation of their wages from week-to-week unlike their salaried counterparts, who are paid a fixed salary every month.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in Michigan?

Aspect Hourly Employees Salaried Employees
Compensation Payment is contingent on the number of hours worked. Salary remains the same every month regardless if any additional hours are worked.
Minimum wage Entitled to earn the minimum wage state requirement for every hour worked. Entitled to earn the state minimum wage requirements if they are classed as non-exempt employees.
Overtime Pay Entitled to earn overtime payment for additional hours worked beyond the 40 hours workweek (generally 1.5 times the regular hourly rate). May not be entitled to receive overtime payment depending on what the job scope entails and the particular salary level.
Work Schedule Compensation is in direct correlation with the actual hours worked. Compensation remains fixed independent of the number of hours worked.
Rest and Meal Breaks No legal entitlement to rest and meal breaks. No legal entitlement to rest and meal breaks similar to hourly employees.
Compensation Stability Income may fluctuate every other week depending on the actual number of hours worked. A fixed income is received independent of the actual number of hours worked.

To learn more about Michigan labor laws, you can access our informative guides on understanding your rights as a salaried employee in Michigan and how to run payroll in Michigan.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Michigan

What are the Maximum Weekly Working Hours in Michigan?

In the state of Michigan, there are no particular state legislations that stipulate the maximum or minimum hours an employee is eligible to work. Rather the applicability of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enacted under federal law, prevails in the regulation of time management, hourly pay wage and overtime compensation. As a result, employers are compelled to adhere to such vital regulations to avoid legal ramifications.

Although the FLSA does not stipulate any restrictions on the number of hours non-exempt employees of age 16 years and older may work in a given workweek, it has determined that hours worked beyond the 40 hours work week entitles employees to receive overtime pay set at 1.5 times their regular hourly wage and exempts employees with particular jobs and salary from this entitlement.

What is the Minimum Wage for Hourly Employees in Michigan?

As of 1st January 2024, the hourly minimum wage in Michigan has been increased to $10.33 per hour, according to the Michigan Labor and Economic Opportunity BureauAs for tipped employees, the base hourly minimum wage paid in Michigan is fixed at $3.93 per hour. The employer is responsible for tracking employee tips to ensure that, when added with the hourly wage, they meet the minimum wage requirement of $10.33. Should the combined wage fall below this requirement, the employer must supplement the employee’s wages accordingly.

Do All Employees Earn the Minimum Wage in Michigan?

However, it should be noted that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), has exempted particular employees in Michigan from earning the regular minimum wage under federal FLSA requirements. One example includes employees aged between 16 and 19 who are paid a lower hourly wage rate of $4.25 per hour in the first 90 days of employment. After this period, they are entitled to receive the regular minimum wage.

Another example is determining the employee categories who are qualified for exemption from the minimum wage requirement. The categories of employees exempted include:

  • Farm workers
  • Taxi drivers
  • Outside salespersons
  • Salaried employees who fall under the categories of administrative, executive, or professional employees will be exempt if their weekly earnings exceed $684

How Many Hours Qualify As Overtime and What is the Associated Pay in Michigan?

In addition to the FLSA provisions regulating overtime compensation in Michigan, Michigan utilizes their Workforce Opportunity Wage Act state law to govern overtime compensation and exceptions throughout the state.

The general requirement is that any additional hours worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek is considered as overtime and must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage. However, certain rules apply to particular categories of employees, including staff members of hospitals and other facilities where patients live onsite, law enforcement employees, security personnel in correctional facilities, and employees conducting fire protection activities.  

There are also specific occupations in Michigan that are exempted from the overtime requirement principle. It is also worth highlighting that retail and service employees can be categorized as administrative, executive, or professional if their workweek activities accounts more than 40% of this nature. The jobs exempted from overtime include:

  • Those who are not covered by minimum wage requirements
  • Agricultural workers
  • Employees of seasonal amusement establishments
  • Public office holders
  • Administrative, professional, or executive employees such as teachers or school administrators

Rest Laws in Michigan

What are the Offered Meal and Rest Breaks for Hourly Employees in Michigan?

Several states across the US are obliged to provide meal breaks, rest breaks or both. However, in Michigan, no state laws or federal laws oblige employers to provide these types of breaks to any type of its employees. Hence, Michigan based employers offer rest and meal breaks during working hours as a customary practice by way of their own discretion. Although, if employers do choose to offer breaks, employees must be allowed to cease all job-related duties during these time periods. 

It should be emphasized that in the state of Michigan, there are particular circumstances that mandatorily require rest breaks. For example, according to the Michigan Youth Employment Standards Act, minors working continuously for 5 or more hours  are legally entitled to a minimum 30 minutes rest or meal break. Breastfeeding mothers also benefit from this exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act which legally requires employers to provide a private non-restroom area for nursing mothers to pump milk. Although, it should be noted that under this legislation, it is not mandatory for breastfeeding breaks to be paid by the employer.

What Laws Govern Time Off and Leaves for Hourly Employees in Michigan?

There are several legislations enacted under both Federal law and Michigan state law which legally safeguards an employee’s entitlement to particular leaves. These leave laws are designed to secure an employee’s job position as they take time off away from work to attend to personal matters of their own for reasons relating to personal health, family emergencies, pregnancy or child-rearing. The following list below encompasses some of the many federal and state legislations that primarily regulate the various kinds of mandatory leave policies implemented in the state of Michigan for all of its employees, including hourly employees:

  • The Paid Medical Leave Act 2019: The Paid Medical Leave Act 2019 stipulates that employees who work in organizations with 50 or more workers may be entitled to paid sick leave which can be used in situations other than medical related reasons. Employees accumulate leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 35 hours worked. However, employers can utilize their discretion to limit the accrued sick leave to o a maximum of 40 hours in a single benefit year.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act: The federal Family and Medical Leave Act permits employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually if they have been employed by the same employer for a minimum duration of 12 months before utilizing the leave and have worked at least 1,250 hours in those 12 months. This leave is typically taken following significant life events that relate to serious health conditions that either impede an employee from working or require them to take care of a family member with a medical condition.
  • Michigan Compiled Law 600.1348: The Michigan Compiled Law 600.1348 compels employers to allow employees to serve jury duty without facing any adverse consequences pertaining to their employment. Furthermore, employees cannot work additional hours required by their employer, which includes the time spent attending court, without a written agreement. A breach in these rules may amount to charges of misdemeanor or even contempt of court.
  • Military Establishment Act 133 of 1955: The state law provisions of the Military Establishment Act 133 of 1955 mandates employers to provide unpaid military leave to employees who are members of the uniformed services. A full seniority credit is given if the employee fulfils these conditions: Their military service is less than 5 years, they haven’t been disqualified, and they come back in a timely manner.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Michigan

What are the Laws Regarding Pay Deductions for Hourly Employees in Michigan?

In the state of Michigan, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Michigan’s Payment of Wages and Fringe Benefits Act (PWFBA) are the key legislations that primarily regulate wage deductions of employees. Hence, a reduction in all or any part of an employee’s wages by an employer is only legally permitted if such deductions have been authorized by law (such as garnishments, taxes or child support) or by the employee (such as retirement plans, loan payments or stock purchases) through seeking their prior written consent. 

Additionally, employers must keep track of each wage deduction and ensure that the deductions do not reduce the total wage amount below the state minimum wage requirement.

What are the Provided Hourly Employees Entitlements Under Michigan State Law?

The following list below comprises a variety of employment rights that generally all Michigan-based employees are entitled to, including hourly employees:

  • Minimum Wage: Employees acquire the right to earn the state minimum  wage of $10.33. 
  • Overtime: Hourly wage employees are rightly entitled to earn overtime compensation for working hours that exceed the 40 hours workweek at an hourly rate set at one and a half times their regular hourly rate of pay, as mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Child Labor protections: Michigan’s Youth Employment Standards Act (YESA) protects minors below the age of 18 in the aspect of employment. The law aims to protect them from work exploitation and prioritizes their access to education. Thus, minors must obtain a work permit , agreement or contract that has been signed by both their employer and the chief administrator of their respective school in order to be eligible to work. Learn more about Michigan Child Labor Laws.
  • Paid Sick Leave: According to the The Paid Medical Leave Act of 2019, employees working for employers with more than 50 employees may be entitled to sick leave to be used for situations that concern their own health or the health of their own family member.
  • Domestic violence leave: Hourly or salaried employees who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse are legally to take medical leave under the Paid Medical Leave Act. This legislation aims to support employees to obtain the assistance they need by giving them time off to;
    1. Seek medical care, 
    2. Attend court hearings, 
    3. Seek psychological treatment
    4. Make relocation arrangements or obtain any legal services related to the abuse
  • Other obligatory time-off provisions: These leaves include emergency response leave, jury duty leave and Military leave.

What are the Provided Hourly Employee Protections Under Michigan State Law?

  1. Violations Reporting: Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act upholds the protection of employees who, in good faith, freely report legal violations occurring in the workplace at a local, state, or federal level without fearing retaliation from their employers (such as firing or seeking revenge against them).
  2. Workplace safety: Employers in Michigan must comply with legal workplace safety requirements under the OSHA-approved State Plan which is implemented by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). Despite this state plan sharing similarities with federal OSHA laws, it establishes its own unique requirements and ensures that employees are protected from dangerous working conditions by ensuring the workspace is inspected by MIOSHA.
  3. Termination of employment: Employees who have their employment terminated are entitled to a final paycheck which their employers must observe.
  4. Employment protection of minors: Michigan based employers must safeguard the legal rights of minors in various aspects of employment such as overtime payment, meal breaks and minimum pay.
  5. Discrimination and Harassment: Michigan employees are protected from workplace discrimination under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976. This means that employees cannot be refused from employment at an organization based on protected characteristics such as:
    • Race
    • Color
    • Religion
    • National origin
    • Sex
    • Age
    • Height
    • Weight
    • Marital status

  • Termination of Employment in Michigan

    What are the Termination Laws for Hourly Employees in Michigan?

    Similar to many other US states, Michigan too follows the employment-at-will principle in the termination of employment for all kinds of its employees. Therefore, both parties are entitled to end the employment relationship at any time without any particular justification. However, an employer is unable to freely terminate an employee’s employment if those grounds are retaliatory in nature, violate public policy, breach any contractual terms that specify the particular reasons for termination or are discriminatory in any way.

    Furthermore, a final paycheck must be given by employers when an employee has been terminated or has voluntarily resigned by the upcoming payday. In addition, if the specific outstanding amount cannot be ascertained by the end of the contract, an estimated amount must be paid.

    Should Severance Pay Be Provided to Hourly Employees in Michigan?

    When an employee has ended their employment, employers may offer a severance payment, which is a remuneration that is issued from calculating an employee’s benefit payment. Employees paid on an hourly basis in the United States enjoy the right to receive severance pay, much like salaried employees. In the state of Michigan, however, employers are not required to grant employees such payments upon termination of employment. Although if employers do provide severance benefits, the employment contract conditions must be complied with.

    Final Thoughts

    In conclusion, it’s important for hourly employees in Michigan to have a solid grasp of their workplace rights in order to confidently manouvre the complexities of today’s work environment. 

    By having a deep understanding of the rules regulating your employment, you can guarantee that your employment rights are valued and maintained. Staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in employment laws is fundamental, as they are constantly developing, and this knowledge will help you to make well-informed decisions in your career trajectory.

    Important Cautionary Note

    This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.