Things I need to know about wage and hour laws in Michigan?

Discover what you need to know as a new business owner about Michigan's wage and hour laws. Also, learn special rules for workers under 18 years old.

When a person starts a new business in Michigan, one of the most important topics to understand is the laws regarding employees' wages and hours. A business can get into a lot of trouble if it does not abide by these laws. Every new business owner should become familiar with the basics of Michigan wage and hour laws.

General requirements

The Society for Human Resource Management explains that an employer needs to pay attention to the law regarding equal pay. An employer cannot discriminate against workers based on gender by paying one higher than the other. Employers can base pay on non-gender related factors, such as merit, quality of work and seniority. Another key point about wages is employers cannot restrict or punish employees for discussing wages.

When it comes to paying employees, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs states employers must abide by any written policy or contract. For example, if the employee handbook says employees get paid double time on holidays, then the employer must pay double time on holidays.

While employers may make overtime mandatory, they must also pay time and a half for any overtime hours an employee works. Hours go into overtime once an employee works over 40 hours in one week. Other states are even more protective of workers and require overtime pay for more than 8 hours of work in any day.

The National Law Review reports minimum wage in 2019 is $9.45 an hour. Employers must pay employees at least this rate unless they receive tips. In the case of tipped employees, employers must pay them at least 38 percent of the minimum wage but the amount for tipped employees may reach the full minimum wage under proposed laws.

Special requirements for workers under the age of 18

If an employer wants to hire workers who are not yet 18 years old, there are some special rules and considerations, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. To begin with, an employer may not hire anyone under the age of 18 to work in many types of mining, demolition, certain types of machine operation and maintenance, or various construction activities.

If a minor is under 16, he or she cannot work between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when school is not in session or between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when school is in session. The law does not require employers to give workers 18 or over a break, but minors must have a break after five hours of work. The break must be at least 30 minutes long. If workers age 18 or over are given a break, it must generally be 30 minutes or longer, and the worker must be completely relieved of his or her duties, or the break time may be considered compensable work time.

Starting a business requires being aware of all the laws regulating employees. If you have a business in Michigan, it may help to consult with an attorney, such as one from Hertz Schram PC, to ensure you meet all the legal requirements.