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Employee rights to new minimum wage in Michigan

There has been a significant debate during this political season regarding minimum wage laws and how much they should be across the U.S. Some states, including Michigan, are taking steps to raise the minimum wage. There are times, however, that an employer tries to avoid paying workers what they are supposed to receive under the law. Those who do not get what they are legally entitled to need to be aware of how to pursue a wage claim, which, can include an overtime claim for unpaid overtime or a claim for regular hourly pay.

At the start of 2016, employees in Michigan were set to receive a minimum wage increase to $8.50 per hour. This is an increase of more than one dollar from the pre-2014 levels when the minimum wage was $7.40. The bill the state legislators passed will raise the minimum wage to $9.25 by 2018. The state's Wage and Hour Program makes certain that the raises are paid by employers through the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. While the minimum wage for 2016 is $8.50, there are circumstances in which an employer can pay less.

If, for example, the worker is a teen between the ages of 16 and 19, the first 90 days of employment allow an employer to pay the worker $4.25 per hour. Likewise, employees who are age 16 and 17 can receive the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Also, workers who base a significant amount of their pay on tips received a raise of 13 cents to $3.23 on January 1. For tips and regular wages to be accounted for, the tipped worker must make at least $8.50 per hour when the income is combined.

Workers who are not being paid what the law says they should need to be fully aware of their rights. There is no reason to fear for one's job when protesting illegal or poor treatment and a wage claim is no exception. When the proper hourly pay is not being provided by an employer or a worker believes that they are not being treated according to the law, speaking to an attorney experienced in helping clients exercise their employee rights can be helpful in getting what they are entitled to.

Source: mlive.com, "Michigan Minimum wage to increase starting Friday, plus more laws to take effect," Emily Lawler, Dec. 31, 2015

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