Del. Senate passes paid family and medical leave legislation

DOVER, Del. – On Tuesday, the Delaware Senate passed legislation to make paid family and medical leave a reality for thousands of working Delawareans.

The Healthy Delaware Families Act would provide eligible full-time workers in Delaware with up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave per year, and up to 6 weeks of paid family caregiving leave, paid medical leave, or paid military leave every two years. Workers forced to take extended time off from work due to a major family or medical event will be able to earn up to 80% of their average weekly wages through the state insurance program created by this Act.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act currently provides some workers with job protections when they need extended absences of work for medical and family reasons, but workers are not guaranteed any pay during those 12 weeks, and a significant portion of Delaware’s workforce receives no protections at all under the law.

This bill would create a family and medical trust fund in Delaware, modeled after similar programs already passed in nine other states and the District of Columbia. We’re told the program would be funded through payroll contributions of less than 1% of an employee’s weekly pay and split evenly between a worker and their employer. Businesses with fewer than 25 workers are not required to participate in the medical and family caregiving component, and businesses with fewer than 10 workers are not required to participate in parental leave, although they may opt-in. Businesses with comparable benefits are able to opt out of portions or the whole program.

The Healthy Delaware Families Act now heads to the Delaware House of Representatives for final consideration.

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics