Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program into law May 10.
"This legislation will build on the work we've done for state employees and extend paid leave into the private sector. It's the right thing to do and it will make Delaware more attractive for younger workers," Mr. Carney said.
The legislation offers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to address a worker's own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to care for a new child or to address the impact of a family member's military deployment.
Employer and employee contributions for the program will begin Jan. 1, 2025, and employees will be able to utilize the paid leave beginning Jan. 1, 2026.
The new law provides benefits to replace up to 80 percent of a covered individual's average weekly salary. The maximum amount of leave benefits an individual may take is 12 weeks per year for parental leave and an aggregate of six weeks in any two-year period for other qualifying reasons, for a cumulative total of up to 12 weeks of benefits per year.
Any employee who has worked for one year for their employer and at least 1,250 hours in the prior 12 months is eligible for the new benefits and leave.
Employers with at least 10 employees in Delaware must contribute to the program and provide parental leave. Employers with at least 25 employees must also provide family caregiving and medical leave. An exemption is included for employers that are closed for at least 30 consecutive days during the year.
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.