On May 10, 2022, Governor John Carney signed into law the Healthy Delaware Families Act, which will make Delaware the 11th state in the country to offer paid family leave when the law goes into effect. Starting in 2026, the new law will guarantee 12 weeks of paid parental leave and six weeks of paid medical, caregiving, and military leave to qualified employees through a new state-run paid family and medical leave social insurance program.
Under the law, eligible workers will continue to receive up to 80 percent of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $900 a week in 2026 and 2027, while out on a qualified leave. Like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the Delaware paid leave law only applies to employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours in the prior 12 months and were employed by the company for a full 12 months prior to taking paid leave.
Employees who work at companies with more than 25 employees will be eligible for the paid parental, medical, military, and caregiver leave. Employees at smaller companies, those who employ between 10 and 24 employees, will be eligible for the 12 weeks of paid parental leave only. Companies who employ fewer than 10 employees are not required to participate in the paid leave program but can voluntarily join the program. Additionally, the law permits businesses to opt out of the social insurance program, if they have an established paid leave program that offers comparable benefits.
The paid leave benefits will be funded by a new 0.8 percent payroll tax on employers beginning in 2025. This 0.8 percent payroll tax is broken down as follows: 0.4 percent for personal medical leave, 0.32 percent for parental leave, and 0.08 percent for caregiver and military leave. Employers can pay the full payroll tax themselves or can deduct up to half of the tax contribution from each covered employee’s paycheck. For example, the full payroll tax for $1,000,000 of annual payroll would be $8,000. If an employer chooses to split the paid leave payroll tax with its employees, an employee earning $50,000 a year will pay $200 per year into the social insurance program.
On March 3, 2022, the Philadelphia City Council passed an ordinance amending the City’s Public Health Emergency Leave Law that requires many Philadelphia employers to provide their employees with paid leave for absences related to COVID-19. Mayor Jim Kenney signed the bill on March 9, 2022, and it went into effect immediately after signing. The ordinance provides that employees may use this new paid COVID-19 leave for their inability to work based on one or more of the following reasons:
the employee’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the employee’s exposure to COVID-19, or because the employee is exhibiting symptoms, regardless of whether the employee has been diagnosed with or has tested positive for COVID-19;
to care for a family member who has been exposed to COVID-19 or who exhibits symptoms that may jeopardize the health of others, regardless of whether the family member has been diagnosed or having tested positive for COVID-19;
to self-isolate because the employee was diagnosed or tested positive for COVID-19, because the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or to seek medical care if experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19;
to care for a family member who is self-isolating because the family member was diagnosed or tested positive for COVID-19, because the family member is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or to seek medical care if experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19;
to care for a child if their school has been closed or their childcare provider is unavailable due to precautions taken in response to COVID-19;
to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or booster; or
to recover from any side effect related to a COVID-19 vaccination.
New York State’s amendments to its Labor Law requiring all employers to provide sick leave to employees are effective on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Signed into law by Governor Cuomo in April as part of the State Budget (Senate Bill S7506B), our prior post detailed that the new amendments require employers to provide between 40 and 56 hours of guaranteed sick leave depending on employer size and net income. Starting Wednesday, covered employees will be entitled to accrue sick leave although the employees may be restricted from using that accrued leave until January 1, 2021.
Under New York’s Labor Law’s new requirements:
Employers with 100 or more employees must allow employees to accrue at least 56 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year;
Employers with between five and 99 employees must allow employees to accrue at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year;
Employers with fewer than five employees but having a net income greater than one million dollars in the previous tax year must allow employees to accrue at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year; and
Employers with fewer than five employees but having a net income less than one million dollars in the previous tax year must allow employees to accrue at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave each calendar year.
COVID-19 legislation that contains two key paid leave acts—the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
In a nutshell, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act entitles employees to paid sick leave when they cannot work or telework due certain COVID-19-related circumstances affecting the employee or someone for whom the employee is caring. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act provides paid leave for employees caring for a child due to school or childcare provider closures related to COVID-19. For an overview of both Acts, check out Blank Rome’s Update.