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Employment and labor laws in Delaware 2024 guide

An employer's guide to labor laws, payroll, benefits, and taxes in Delaware.

Delaware at a Glance

State capital

Dover

Population

1 million

State motto

"Liberty and Independence"

Key industries

Agriculture, Banking, Healthcare, Education

Major economic hubs

Wilmington, Newark, Dover

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Introduction to employment laws in Delaware

Overview

To avoid legal issues, fines, or worse, employers in Delaware must understand and comply with the patchwork of federal and state labor regulations. Here’s what you need to know when hiring in the state.

Employing in Delaware: Key employment laws and practices

Standard work hours

Delaware’s standard work hours typically align with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which establishes an 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek for full-time employees.

Employers can set flexible working hours based on their operational needs but must adhere to the state’s overtime regulations for additional work hours beyond the standard.

Work hours may depend on the agreement between the employer and the worker for contractual professionals. The same is true for self-employed professionals, who can choose their own working hours. However, they should be aware of potential tax implications and licensing requirements under Delaware law.

Minimum wage and overtime

Compliance with minimum wage regulations is crucial for employers in Delaware. The state’s minimum wage is $13.25 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Delaware’s minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.23 per hour.

Overtime pay in Delaware follows FLSA rules. The overtime pay rate is 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate.

Insurance and benefits

Employers in Delaware are required to provide certain benefits and insurance coverage to employees: Workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance.

Additionally, employers may also offer health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement benefits, 401k plans, and other fringe benefits as part of their compensation packages.

Here are the details:

Benefit

Description

Workers’ compensation insurance

Mandatory for all employers with one or more employees

Unemployment insurance

Employers must pay unemployment taxes to fund unemployment benefits

Disability insurance

Not mandatory in Delaware but can be offered by employers

Health insurance

Employer-provided health insurance is common but not required by state law

Meal and rest periods

In Delaware, employment laws dictate that employees scheduled to work seven-and-a-half or more consecutive hours per day are entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes. The break should be scheduled after the first two hours and before the last two hours of work. However, certain employment sectors may be exempt from this regulation.

Under the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA), employers with four or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including providing break time for breastfeeding. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure these breaks align with the state’s requirements.

Anti-discrimination laws

Apart from federal laws, Delaware has instituted several anti-discrimination laws in place to protect employees in their workplaces.

The Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA) and the Persons with Disabilities Employment Protections Act (PDEPA) prohibit discrimination based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Genetic information, color, age, and religion
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions
  • Sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation
  • National origin
  • Reproductive healthcare decisions
  • Caregiving responsibilities
  • Disability

The DDEA also protects individuals from retaliation for opposing discriminatory practices or for testifying or assisting in any investigation or hearing related to enforcing the DDEA or PDEPA.

Multiplier makes it easy to manage benefits for Delaware employees.

Leaves policies

In addition to the federally mandated Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Delaware has several state-specific leave laws.

Type of leave

Description

Jury duty leave

Employees are allowed leave for jury service

Crime victim leave

Employees who are victims of a crime can take leave to attend court proceedings

Election official leave

Employers with 21+ employees must provide leave for employees serving as election officials

Military leave

Employees can take leave for military service, as per federal law

Emergency responder leave

Employers with 10+ employees must allow leave for volunteer emergency responders

Isolation/Quarantine leave

Employees placed under isolation or quarantine due to a public health emergency can take leave

Termination laws

In Delaware, employers and employees can terminate their employment “at-will.” Employers can fire employees for any lawful reason or no reason at all, and the same stands true for employees who wish to discontinue their employment. Of course, employees are protected against discriminatory and retaliatory termination.

When an employee’s employment tenure ends in Delaware, their final pay must be provided by the next payday. Any agreed-upon benefits or wage supplements (e.g. an unpaid vacation pay) must be provided within 30 days of termination. If an employee is absent on payday, the employer must make payment on the next regular workday that the employee is present.

Easily onboard employees in Delaware?

Safety and health

Apart from the federal OSHA guidelines, Delaware has specific safety regulations in place to ensure the health and safety of its workforce.

For instance, the state prohibits the use of any electronic devices while driving, aiming to limit distractions and accidents on the road. Delaware’s Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking, including the use of electronic smoking devices, in most indoor workplaces. Employers are not required to provide employees with an outdoor smoking area or smoking breaks, but they must post proper signage wherever smoking is permitted.

Delaware also allows employers to prohibit employees from bringing firearms onto their property, including parking lots, regardless of whether the employee is licensed to carry the weapon.

Taxes in Delaware

Employers must pay federal and state unemployment insurance taxes, while employees are responsible for federal income tax, state income tax, and FICA taxes for Social Security and Medicare.

Delaware’s state income tax rates range from 2.2% to 6.6%, depending on the employee’s income level. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax for Social Security is 6.2% for both employers and employees, while the FICA tax for Medicare is 1.45% for both parties.

Tax

Rate

Who pays

Federal income tax

Varies

Employee

State income tax

2.2% – 6.6%

Employee

FICA – Social Security

6.2%

Both employer and employee

FICA – Medicare

1.45%

Both employer and employee

Managing Delaware employees with an Employer of Record (EOR)

Employers need to stay updated on a wide array of regulations to maintain legal compliance, but that’s no easy task. This is where Multiplier steps in, providing an all-in-one platform to manage your workforce in the U.S.

Our Employer of Record can help you legally and compliantly employ full-time workers without having to set up local U.S. business entities.

Multiplier’s Global Payroll platform lets you pay U.S. employees and handle their taxes, contributions, and withholdings. Moreover, our global benefits administration provides locally compliant and competitive benefits to your Delaware team.

Let us help streamline your HR and compliance processes while you focus on growing your business. Book a demo today.

FAQs

Delaware employment laws provide an extensive range of protections to employees, notably against discrimination and retaliation. As per the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA) and the Persons with Disabilities Employment Protections Act (PDEPA), employers can’t discriminate based on race, marital status, genetic information, age, religion, sex, disability, etc. They also cannot retaliate against an employee who opposes discriminatory practices or participates in related investigations.

Delaware has specific laws related to minimum wage and wage deductions. Currently, the state minimum wage is $13.25 per hour. Deductions may be made if required by federal or state law or with the employee’s written authorization for a lawful purpose. However, deductions for damaged property or cash shortages are not allowed.

Delaware law mandates certain leaves of absence, including jury duty leave, crime victim leave, election official leave, military leave, emergency responder leave, and isolation/quarantine leave. Employers should carefully manage these leaves to maintain HR compliance.

Delaware limits pre-employment criminal checks and salary history inquiries. Employers cannot screen job applicants based on their salary history or seek this information from the applicant or a current/former employer, barring certain exceptions.

Delaware prohibits smoking, including electronic smoking devices, in indoor workplaces. Employers can also prohibit employees from bringing firearms onto their property. The use of any electronic device while driving is prohibited, emphasizing safe driving practices.

Upon termination, suspension, or layoff, earned wages must be paid by the next payday through the normal payment method or by mail if requested by the employee. If an agreement is in place to pay benefits or wage supplements upon termination, these must be provided within 30 days after termination.

Managing employees in Delaware?

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