Delaware Poised to Require Paid Family Leave

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 21, 2022

Delaware's legislature has passed a paid family leave law, joining a growing trend among the states.

Gov. John Carney has until April 26 to sign or veto the bill, dubbed the Healthy Delaware Families Act (HDFA). Otherwise, it becomes law without his signature. If he signs the bill as expected, Delaware would become the 12th state to enact a paid family leave law, following California, Massachusetts, New York and several others.

Starting in 2026, covered employees would be entitled to:

  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave each application year (i.e., the 12-month period beginning on the first day of the week in which an employee applies for benefits) to care for a child during the first year after the birth, adoption or placement of the child in foster care; or
  • Up to six weeks of paid leave in any 24-month period to:
    • Address a serious health condition that makes them unable to perform the functions of their position;
    • Care for a family member with a serious health condition; or
    • Deal with a qualifying exigency as defined under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (i.e., address the impact of a family member's military deployment).

Employers with fewer than 10 employees would be exempt. Employers with 10 to 24 employees during the previous 12 months would be subject only to the parental leave provisions.

Covered HDFA leave that also qualifies as leave under the FMLA runs concurrently with FMLA leave and may not be taken in addition to FMLA leave.

Eligible Delaware employees would receive a weekly benefit of 80% of their average weekly wages, from a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $900 (this amount would be adjusted for inflation each year starting in 2028). Benefits would be paid out from a new state insurance fund created by the bill, with employers and employees splitting a contribution equal to 1% of each employee's weekly pay.