Portal opened for employers seeking exemption from paid leave act

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The Delaware Department of Labor’s Division of Paid Leave (DPL) has opened its portal (de.gov/paidleave), giving Delaware employers a way to apply for exemption from immediately joining the state’s plan.

If an employer offers a private plan that is comparable to the state’s plan,their existing plan is “grandfathered in.” For an existing plan to be eligible:

  • – It must have been written and in place before Delaware’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program was signed into law (May 2022).
  • – It cannot cost workers more than what Delaware’s Paid Leave allows.
  • – Benefits must be comparable to the state’s plan.

A comparable plan will be within 10% of the minimum requirements of the Delaware Paid Leave program. If a private plan is deemed comparable, it can be grandfathered in for the program’s first five years.

Smaller employers (10 to 24 employees) will also be able to notify the Labor Department if they wish to reduce their employees’ maximum parental leave duration (PLD) — from the standard 12 weeks to as low as six weeks — for the first five years of the program.

The online Grandfathering/PLD Portal will will close on Dec. 31, 2023.

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“We understand some employers are already offering private coverage that is like the state’s new plan,” said Christopher Counihan, director of the Division of Paid Leave. “We want all employers to have the opportunity to apply for this exemption, and we encourage them to access the portal as soon as possible to see if they qualify.”

A call center is open for employers to answer their questions about being grandfathered in and any general inquiries about the Delaware Paid Leave Program. Employers can call 302-761-8375.


Created under the Healthy Delaware Families Act, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program offers eligible Delaware workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to address a serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to bond with and care for a new child, or to address the impact of a family member’s military deployment. The legislation makes Delaware the 11th jurisdiction — preceded by New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. — to offer many of its workers a paid family and medical leave program.

Delaware’s Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance Program is largely based on the rules of the federal (unpaid) Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) program that has been in place since 1993.

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