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17 May

May 2022: Delaware Governor Signs Healthy Delaware Families Act into Law

Posted at

10:08pm

in

Update Applicable to:

All employers with 10–24 employees and 25 or more employees in the state of Delaware

What happened?
In our previous communication here, we informed you that the “Healthy Delaware Families Act” will become law once signed by the governor. This is an update to that law.

What are the details?
On May 10, 2022, Governor Carney signed Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), also known as the “Healthy Delaware Families Act,” into law.

  • Employers with 10 to 24 employees in Delaware must:
    • Contribute to the program and provide parental leave.
  • Employers with 25 employees or more also must:
    • provide family caregiving and medical leave.
      • Exemption: The law includes an exemption for employers that are closed for at least 30 consecutive days during the year.

The related Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program will be funded by employer and employee contributions. While the law will take effect on July 1, 2022, contributions will begin on January 1, 2025, and employees will be able to utilize the job-protected paid leave beginning on January 1, 2026.

The new law provides benefits to replace up to 80% of a covered individual’s average weekly wage and job-protected leave for the following reasons:

  • To care for a child during the first year after the child’s birth, adoption, or placement of the child through foster care;
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition;
  • Because the covered individual has a serious health condition that results in the covered individual being unable to perform the functions of the covered individual’s position; or
  • Because the covered individual has a qualifying exigency, as defined under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

The maximum amount of leave benefits a covered individual may take is 12 weeks per year for parental leave and an aggregate of six weeks in any 24-month period for other qualifying reasons, for a cumulative total of up to 12 weeks of benefits per year.

Any employee primarily reporting for work in Delaware who has worked for one year for their employer and at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months is eligible to utilize the benefits and leave provided by the new law.

Employees who take leave are entitled to continued employee health benefits during leave and to reinstatement to the position previously held by the employee, or an equivalent position, following leave.

Employers that violate the law, including by not providing required leave or engaging in retaliation for taking leave, may be subject to damages. Damages may include lost wages, actual damages caused by leave denied, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and reinstatement.

For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill 1 (SB 1)

Vensure Legal Update (4/25/2022)

Article 1Article 2Article 3

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and prepare to make changes to their paid leave policies to be in compliance with the new law by preparing to pay contributions by January 1, 2025, and providing employees the newly job-protected paid leave by January 1, 2026.

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