Delaware paid family and medical leave is coming after Gov. John Carney signed the bill into law May 10, 2022.
Dubbed the Healthy Delaware Families Act, the bill creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program.
Employees in Delaware will have access to up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for a qualifying event. The program will be paid for through a trust fund via payroll contributions, starting with 0.4 percent in 2025 and 2026.
Following the recent passage of a Maryland paid family and medical leave (PFML) law, Delaware is now the 11th state with a PFML law. (Washington, D.C., also has paid family and medical leave.)
Paid Family and Medical Leave in Delaware
As passed, the paid family and medical leave law applies to Delaware employers with 10 or more workers. (Employers with 10 to 24 employees during the previous 12 months are only subject to the parental leave provisions of the law.)
In terms of funding, the state will begin collecting money from employers and employees in 2025. Qualifying employees will be eligible for benefits starting in 2026.
Qualifying reasons for use under Delaware’s paid family and medical leave law include:
- To address an employee’s own serious health condition
- To care for a family member with a serious health condition
- To bond and care for a new child
- For a qualifying exigency as defined under the federal Family Medical Leave Act
Paid Leave Management. Simplified.
The weekly benefit is 80 percent of the covered individual’s average weekly wages, rounded up to the nearest even $1 increment during the 12 months preceding a request to use the paid leave.
The minimum weekly benefit cannot be less than $100 a week, but if the covered individual’s average weekly wage is less than $100 a week, the weekly benefit would be the employee’s full wage. Meanwhile, the maximum weekly benefit in 2026 and 2027 is $900. In each year after 2027, the maximum weekly benefit will increase in proportion to the annual average increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index.
Related: Delaware Minimum Wage Schedule
Delaware paid family and medical leave also includes:
- Recordkeeping and notice requirements
- Anti-retaliation language
- Labor law postingrequirement (also in Spanish if at least 5 percent of employees speak it as their first language)
- Restitution for noncompliance
- Ability for employers to provide private plan if it meets the standards of the law
- An active date of July 1, 2022
Paid Leave Laws Elsewhere
On the heels of new PFML laws in Maryland and Delaware, other states have taken up legislation regarding paid leave, including Minnesota.
While only a dozen jurisdictions have active paid family and medical leave laws, many more have paid sick leave laws. And these laws continue to grow in numbers and complexity. Plus, the pandemic has added an extra layer of laws for employers to manage.
It all adds up to a major compliance challenge for large employers, and HR teams must continue to monitor jurisdictions where they have locations for new employment laws — not only paid leave, but minimum wage, ban-the-box laws, predictive scheduling and more.
Paid Leave Glossary
Though still years away from implementation, employers with locations in Delaware should examine the specifics of the paid family and medical leave law to ensure compliance.
Like all aspects of employment law, HR and compliance teams must monitor their locations across the U.S. to keep ahead of potential changes and new obligations.