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Employers can apply for exemption from state's Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Delaware Legislative Hall
Delaware Public Media
Delaware Legislative Hall

The Delaware Department of Labor’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program now has a portal for employers who are seeking an exemption.

The portal allows Delaware employers to apply for an exemption from immediately joining the state’s plan.

"It's for employers who already have an existing paid time off plan that has comparable benefits,” said Chris Counihan, director of the Division of Paid Leave. “That's one of the few times in our program that we're allowing plans that have not even quite as good as the minimum requirements of the act that created this Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program."

For an employer’s existing plan to be grandfathered in, it had to be written and in place before the new program was signed into law in May 2022, can’t cost workers more than what the state’s Paid Leave allows, and benefits must be comparable to the state’s plan.

Comparable means be within 10% of the minimum requirements of the Delaware Paid Leave program.

"If you have an existing program, and you pass through the process then you'll be able to keep your existing program as an employer to offer to your employees for the first 5 years of the life of this program," said Counihan.

Employers can apply on the online portal until December 31.

Seasonal businesses and businesses with fewer than 10 employees can opt out without applying for an exemption.

Program contributions are slated to start in January 2025, with benefits available in 2026.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.