New laws going into effect for Delaware starting Jan. 1

DELAWARE – With the new year, comes new laws. As the clock strikes midnight, several laws in the first state will go into effect.

Usually, laws are implemented the same day the governor signs the bill, but they put off effective dates, so agencies can prepare for these new requirements. And January 1st is the day, where some of them finally come to life.

We can expect new laws dealing with sexual harassment and performance evaluations for contractors on public works projects.

As of Tuesday, HB 360 provides more protections related to sexual harassment under the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act. It sets an affirmative defense for employers and provides anti-sexual harassment training requirements for employers with at least 50 workers in the state.

But that’s not the only change.

2019 will be a little more prosperous for minimum wage workers. The state’s minimum wage will rise from $8.25 an hour to $8.75.

It also comes with a new provision in state law that allows employers to pay a reduced minimum wage to probationary workers and teens.
Employers can pay new adult hires 50 cents less than the minimum wage for the first 90 days on the job. They can also pay workers under 18, a wage that is 50 cents less than the standard minimum wage as well.

While there’s an increase by 50 cents, locals say it’s still not enough.

Judi Thoroughgood, a Millsboro business owner says, “It may be a fair wage to start in some positions but it should still job, knowledge and experience and people should be paid for the quality and quantity of work they are doing.”

Locals tell us if they had the choice, they wish to see those numbers climb even higher.

Talesha Blanchard, business owner of All Rise Café says, “In this area, probably $13 an hour would be enough somebody to sustain their household without having to work multiple jobs.”

Also going into effect is senior drug assistance. The Delaware Drug Payment Assistance Program, which was eliminated back in 2017 will start again after it passed legislation.

It will give low-income seniors the eligibility to have their prescription offset by the state.

Categories: Delaware, Local News