MI minimum wage rising 35 cents to $8.50 an hour

Posted at 10:10 AM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 10:10:17-05

Michigan workers making the minimum wage will get a 35-cents-an-hour raise starting Friday.

The state hourly minimum is rising from $8.15 to $8.50. That is $14 more a week, or $728 a year, for those working full time.

The increase is the second in 16 months under a 2014 law that gradually boosted the minimum by 25 percent. The wage will increase to $8.90 in 2017 and $9.25 in 2018, after which it will rise with inflation every year.

Scheduled inflationary increases will not take effect if unemployment is 8.5 percent or higher for the prior year.

Michigan is among 14 states where higher minimum wages will go into effect in the new year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Michigan's wage will be tied for 14th-highest among the 45 states with a minimum wage.

The amount that employers can pay 16- and 17-year-olds — which is 85 percent of the minimum wage — will stay at $7.25, the equivalent of the federal minimum wage. But it will increase to $7.57 in 2017 and $7.86 in 2018.

The minimum hourly rate for workers who earn tips is rising from $5.05 to $5.27 on Friday. Businesses must still ensure tipped employees make at least $8.50 an hour overall.

Also taking effect in coming days and weeks are laws that will:

— Let drivers pulled over by police show proof of their auto insurance on a phone or another mobile device instead of having to provide a hard copy.

— Authorize local health departments to not inspect proposed temporary food establishments such as concession stands that serve only "low-risk" food like precooked hotdogs, popcorn and ice cream. Health officials could instead do an in-office consultation and operational review.

— Revise rules so veterans and others with service animals can visit restaurants and other public accommodations without being turned away — except in limited circumstances. The state will offer voluntary IDs, tags and vests for service animals. It also must receive reports from people who encounter problems using a service animal or who suspect others of falsely saying they have a service animal, and can refer violations to law enforcement.

— Require police to adhere to new reporting requirements about their seizure of people's property and make prosecutors meet a higher standard of evidence in civil court before taking ownership of assets they suspect are tied to crimes, even when no charges are filed or convictions are obtained.

— Let people caring for the disabled open tax-exempt savings accounts to pay for the long-term needs of those they care for, including housing and transportation. Another measure will raise the maximum account balance in Michigan's 529 college savings plan from $235,000 to $500,000.

— Ban a powder product that makes vodka, rum and other alcoholic drinks when mixed with water.

— Require the state police to notify the public about a search for any person suspected of injuring or killing a police officer. The Blue Alerts will function like Amber Alerts that help find missing children.