Delaware Leave Laws

March 26th 2024

Leave enhances the well-being of employees, and so, in order to ensure a healthy workforce, every US state has laws and regulations which outline the leave requirements for both employers and employees to be aware of.

This article explores the leave laws in Delaware, delving into the different categories of leave available to employees.

Delaware has two types of leave: required and optional, each encompassing specific guidelines and requirements. These may differ according to whether an employee is working in the public or private sector.

This Article Covers

Delaware Required Leave
Delaware Non-Required Leave

Delaware Required Leave

There are several types of leave in Delaware which employers are required to provide to their employees. The categories of mandated leave in Delaware include:

1. Sick Leave

  • Eligibility: Employers are not required by state law to give paid sick leave to their employees. However, sick leave must be given to those whose circumstances fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requirements. To be eligible, employees must have worked for at least 12 months for a covered employer and accrued at least 1,250 hours.
  • Duration: Under the FMLA, employees can take up to 12 weeks (or 480 hours) of unpaid leave per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Those eligible under the FMLA can take leave for circumstances such as caring for a newborn or foster/adopted child, caring for a family member with a serious illness, or being incapacitated themselves by a serious illness.

2. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees who have been summoned for jury duty.  An employer cannot penalize an employee for taking this leave.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: When summoned by the court to fulfill jury duties.
  • Pay: Employers are not required to pay for this time off. Any payment that the employee receives from the state due to serving on the jury cannot be considered as wages.

3. Emergency Response Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who are volunteer emergency responders. Employers are not required to give paid leave, but it is forbidden to punish employees for participation.
  • Duration: The duration of the emergency.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Leave can be used if a state of emergency is declared, or if an employee sustains an injury during this time.

4. Organ and Bone Donation Leave

  • Eligibility: All state employees, teachers and school employees.
  • Duration: Up to 30 days of paid leave for organ donation and up to 7 days for bone marrow donation.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Leave can be taken for medical procedures and the time needed afterwards for recovery.

5. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: Any employee called up for military service. Employers in Delaware must comply with the federal law known as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • Duration: The entire duration of the military tour, plus an additional 90 days after the tour ends.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Being called up to fulfill military service obligations.

Delaware Non-Required Leave

There are specific types of leave which employers in Delaware are not required to provide to employees, unless explicitly stated in an employment contract or company policy. The following leave options are not legally mandated:

1. Bereavement Leave

In Delaware, employers have no legal obligation to provide bereavement leave or time off for attending funerals. However, should an employer decide to grant such benefits, they should conform to existing company policies.

2. Vacation Leave

In Delaware, state law does not require employers to offer paid vacation leave. However, it is to the discretion of employers to provide such benefits and align them with company policies. Employers may implement policies that deny payment for vacation leave after an employee leaves or is terminated, or disqualify employees from using paid leave if they fail to adhere to certain company requirements. Paid vacation policies may also include a provision requiring employees to use their leave by a certain date, preventing excessive accrual. Employers are not legally obligated to provide payouts of vacation leave upon termination, unless it is specified in their company policy.

3. Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave

As per the Delaware Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence and Stalking Policy, employers are not mandated to offer leave, paid or unpaid, to employees who are suffering from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. However, they are obligated to create a safe workplace and provide reasonable adjustments to support the victims (provided it does not disrupt the organizational workflow).

4. Voting Time Leave

Employers are not obligated to provide paid or unpaid leave to employees for voting purposes. Nevertheless, employers cannot prohibit employees from utilizing their accrued time off for engaging in election activities or working as a poll worker. This applies to all employees, excluding those employed in positions essential for public safety, healthcare, transportation, etc.

5. Holiday Leave

Private employers are not legally required to provide paid leave or pay their employees extra for working on holidays (unless it counts as overtime). However, public office employees and educators in public schools are mandated to have time off on state-approved holidays.

The official federal holidays in the table below are observed in the US:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Delaware, you can read our guides on Your rights as a salaried employee in Delaware, and Your rights as an hourly employee in Delaware. You can also learn more about Delaware Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate, but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up to date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.