Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Michigan

Does Michigan have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?

Under Michigan law, employers must pay employees at a rate of one and one-half the employee's regularly hourly wage for working more than forty hours in a workweek.

For some employees, Michigan law allows for the accrual and use of compensatory time instead of cash overtime wages.

Some employees are exempt from the standard overtime requirement. Employees engaged in administrative, professional, executive, and agricultural activities are exempt from the overtime requirement. Different standards apply to the following employees under Michigan law, but not under federal law:

  • Law enforcement
  • Employees engaged in fire protection activities
  • Hospital employees
  • Elected officials
  • Political appointees of elected officials not covered by a civil service system
  • Amusement or recreational establishment employees if the park operates less than seven calendar months per year

Additional information on Michigan overtime law is available at http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,7-154-27673_27909---,00.html. You can ready more about federal overtime law at http://www.workplacefairness.org/overtime.

Does Michigan have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?

The current minimum wage in Michigan is $8.15 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Employers, however, can use tips and gratuities to reduce the minimum wage required to $2.65.

Under Michigan law, the minimum wage applies to employees not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The following employees may be paid at a rate below the minimum wage:

  • New employees less than 20 years of age may be paid at a lower rate per hour for the first 90 days of employment
  • Disabled employees
  • Employees engaged in harvesting fruits and vegetables or in sorting or bunching strawberry plants
  • Students employed by nonprofit organizations

Additional information on Michigan minimum wage law is available at http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,7-154-27673_27909---,00.html.

Does Michigan have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

Michigan does not have any meal or rest break requirements.

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Michigan?

You can file a written complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth. This can be done by filling out an Employment Wage Complaint Form available at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/WH43_Employment_Wage_Complaint_Form_R6_29_05_141360_7.pdf. The filing should include as much information and documentation as possible, including pay statements and records of hours worked. This process can be completed with or without an attorney.

Additional information on filing a wage claim is available at http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,7-154-27673_27909-82284--,00.html.

What are my time deadlines?

If you have a wage/hour claim, do not delay in contacting the Wage and Hour Division to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which wage claims must be filed. In order for the agency to act on your behalf, you must file within three years from the date of the alleged violation. Some violations, however, are subject to a one year deadline.

As you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. Yet if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the Wage and Hour Division.

How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Michigan?

In Michigan, employees can file a private lawsuit to recover unpaid back wages, liquidated damages, court costs, and attorneys' fees.

Local Department of Labor Office

Wage and Hour Division
7150 Harris Drive
PO Box 30476
Lansing, MI 48909-7976
(517) 322-1814
(517) 322-6352 (fax)
whinfo@michigan.gov


This material was originally prepared by attorney Joseph Jaramillo and former law clerks Keia Cole and Adam Weiss of the law firm Goldstein, Demchak Baller Borgen and Dardarian, and was updated by Professor Douglas D. Scherer, of Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Professor Scherer also serves as the Vice President of Workplace Fairness.