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Delaware Issues First Round of Regulations Interpreting the Healthy Delaware Families Act

11 Sep

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Update Applicable to:

All Delaware employers with 10 or more employees

What happened?

In preparation for the upcoming launch of Delaware’s paid family and medical leave program, the state has released an initial set of interpretive rules.

What are the details?

In 2022, Delaware introduced the Healthy Delaware Families Act (HDFA), joining the growing number of regions implementing a paid family and medical leave (PFML) mandate. While the PFML program is not currently operational, the requirement to furnish paid benefits under the program is slated to commence on January 1, 2026, with both employers and employees expected to commence contributions on January 1, 2025. On July 11, 2023, the Delaware Department of Labor’s Division of Paid Leave (Division) issued an initial set of regulations pertaining to the program.

The rules furnish detailed guidance in several key areas:

  1. Determining employer and employee coverage.
  2. Establishing the duration and amount of available benefits.
  3. Clarifying employee notice obligations.

Additionally, the rules offer an expanded and comprehensive overview of the application processes for:

  1. Obtaining approval for a private plan as an alternative to the state program.
  2. Seeking an exemption from coverage based on an existing comparable private paid time off benefit plan, such as a short-term disability plan.

For more information, please see the links below:

Rules Defining Delaware Family Medical Leave Program (PFML)

Delaware Official Paid Leave Page

Law Firm Article

What do employers need to do?

The Littler law firm recommends employers to contemplate whether they plan to seek a grandfathering exception or a private plan exception and should remain aware of the following significant dates:

  • October 1, 2023: The online portal opens for submitting grandfathering applications.
  • January 1, 2024:
    • Deadline for submitting grandfathering applications.
    • Deadline for employers with 10 to 24 employees to inform the Division of their decision to reduce the Parental Leave maximum benefit duration from 12 weeks to a minimum of 6 weeks for claims filed before January 1, 2031.
  • September 1, 2024: The online portal becomes available for submitting private plan applications.
  • December 1, 2024:
    • Deadline for submitting private plan applications for the 2025 calendar year.
    • Deadline for employers with 10 to 24 employees to notify their employees of their decision to reduce the Parental Leave maximum benefit duration from 12 weeks to a minimum of 6 weeks for claims submitted prior to January 1, 2031.
  • December 15, 2024: Deadline for notifying the Division and employees if the employer intends to contribute more than 50% of the total contribution amount.
  • January 1, 2025: Commencement of PFML contributions.
  • January 1, 2026: Availability of PFML benefits.

Employers are strongly encouraged to visit the Delaware Department of Labor’s website, where these crucial dates are outlined, and further details about the HDFA can be found.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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