This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of Delaware.
Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Delaware.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
No federal or state laws in the USA require employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time, Delaware included.
If an employer does provide vacation time for their employees, they must follow whatever terms have been established in employment contracts and company policy documents.
There is no mention in Delaware leave laws of Use It or Lose It policies, so it can be safe to assume this type of policy is legal.
Use It or Lose It leave policies mean that any leave not used at the end of the year is forfeited, and not carried over to the following year. Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.
There is no legal requirement in Delaware to pay employees for unused vacation time, sick leave or any other kind of PTO upon separation (e.g. when an employee quits, is fired or is laid off), unless it is promised in company policy or an employment contract.
Delaware law does not require employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave.
Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Delaware must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.
Delaware state holidays are as such:
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Martin Luther King, Jr. Day|
|2 days before Easter||Good Friday (Friday before Easter)|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|November 11||Veterans Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving|
|Day after Thanksgiving||Friday after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday)|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
Employers in Delaware do not have to provide a day off, paid or unpaid, for employees on state holidays. In addition, employees can be required to work on state holidays without receiving extra compensation, such as higher pay or a compensatory day off.
Employers do not have to provide paid maternity leave in Delaware, however employees are covered by the FMLA, which allows them to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a new child, or a newly placed adoption or foster.
The Healthy Delaware Families Act, signed in 2022, allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave within the first year of a child’s birth, adoption or placement through foster care, which is covered by the state at 80% of the individual’s average weekly wage.
Fathers in Delaware have the same rights under the FMLA and Health Delaware Families act, entitling them to unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of their child or a new adoption or foster, along with compensation from the state over this period.
There is no law in Delaware requiring employers to provide paid or unpaid bereavement leave.
There is no law requiring employers to give paid leave to employees for jury duty, but employers may not discharge or penalize an employee in any way for serving on a jury or serving a jury summons.
There is no law in Delaware requiring employers to provide paid or unpaid leave to allow employees to vote.
However, an employer cannot prevent an employee from using their earned or entitled paid time off (e.g. vacation time or personal days) to act as an election officer, unless the employee is in a “critical need” position.
Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Delaware, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.
Anything not covered in Delaware state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.
However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.
For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.