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Minimum Wage: 4 Facts About Michigan's Minimum Wage

By    |   Wednesday, 02 Dec 2015 08:38 AM

Any increases to the minimum wage face a tough fight in Republican-dominated, economically challenged Michigan, where political efforts have ranged from cuts in pay for younger workers to ending local ability to set wages.

Here are four facts about the minimum wage in the Wolverine State.

1. The 85 Percent
State law allows for workers ages 16 and 17 to be paid 85 percent of the state minimum wage, but that’s less than the $7.25 federal minimum standard. Without that, those teen workers would be paid less than $7 an hour, according to the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

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2. Extending the Reduction
State Sen. Margaret O’Brien, a Republican from Portage in the southwest part of the Lower Peninsula, wants to extend that 85 percent limitation to workers ages 18 and 19. According to the statewide news site MLive.com, she said she remembers her own children “made a lot of mistakes” in their first jobs and “there’s very few employers who will hire a 15, 16, or 17-year-old."

The state Senate’s Commerce Committee approved the bill, with the committee’s lone Democrat the only dissenting vote, and sent it on to the Senate in mid-June 2015, according to MLive.com.

3. Training Wage for Teen Workers
Employers in Michigan are allowed to pay workers ages 16 to 19 a training wage of $4.25 an hour for the first 90 days on the job, according to LARA.

However, O’Brien's bill, Senate Bill 250, would increase the training wage to $6.25 an hour.

4. Local Governments Lose Authority
Local governments lost the ability to set their own minimum wages under a law signed in June 2015. Rep. Earl Poleski, a Republican from Jackson, in the south-central part of the Lower Peninsula, sponsored the bill, which had heavy support from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, according to MLive.com.

As finally approved by both houses of the Legislature, the Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act, prohibits local governments – such as a city, county, township, or school system – from making, enforcing or administering any law or policy concerning wages, benefits, or labor agreements. Local governments are still allowed to require criminal background checks or prohibit discrimination, according to the text of the bill.

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MLive.com noted earlier provisions that would have made the law retroactive were stripped from the bill as it was sent back and forth between House and Senate. The site also noted O’Brien, sponsor of the 85-percent extension bill, was one of the Republicans voting against Poleski’s bill when it went to the Senate.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill into law at the end of June 2015.

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Any increases to the minimum wage face a tough fight in Republican-dominated, economically challenged Michigan, where political efforts have ranged from cuts in pay for younger workers to ending local ability to set wages.
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2015-38-02
Wednesday, 02 Dec 2015 08:38 AM
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