By Tyler Micik
Members of the State Chamber’s Employer Advocacy Committee met last week for their first meeting of the year. The committee was joined by Secretary of Labor Karryl Hubbard, who gave an update on the Department of Labor (DOL), sharing their policy priorities and current projects. Late last year, the DOL composed a list of five goals or pillars known as the Department of Labor Framework for the Future:
The committee was also joined by the Department’s Barry Butler and Thomas “Chip” Riddleberger who highlighted the Delaware JobLink, one resource offered by the DOL. Delaware JobLink is a self-service tool for employers to post job openings and find and hire candidates.
“Currently there’s around 19,000 active jobs posted on Delaware JobLink
Additionally, last year, the DOL hosted and assisted with over 35 job fairs throughout the state. Services like Delaware JobLink play an important role in connecting employers with job seekers at a time when employers are struggling to fill open positions. To find out more about Delaware JobLink, visit joblink.delaware.gov.
Committee members also reviewed several important policy issues, including paid family and medical leave and recreational marijuana legalization. First, SS 1 for SB 1—or the Healthy Delaware Families Act—creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. This latest version has undergone substantial revisions from the original bill that was introduced last year. Employers with 25 or more employees are required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave and up to 6 weeks paid medical and family caregiving leave. Employers with 10 or more employees but less than 25 are only required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave. Under current law, small businesses, those with 50 or fewer employees, are exempt from the 1993 Federal FMLA law. Second, HB 305—the Delaware Marijuana Control Act—would allow adults over the age of 21 to legally possess and consume under one ounce of marijuana for personal use. It does not permit individuals to grow their own marijuana.
Participants on our policy committees are instrumental in helping the State Chamber review bills, develop feedback, and recommend amendments. Consider joining the conversation and help shape policy in the First State by joining a committee. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S EMPLOYER SERVICES:
By Tyler Micik
The General Assembly returned to session this month in a virtual format and a number of bills were introduced that are noteworthy for employers.
First, SS1 for SB1, the Healthy Delaware Families Act creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. This latest version has undergone substantial revisions from the original bill that was introduced last year. Employers with 25 or more employees are required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave and up to 6 weeks paid medical and family caregiving leave. Employers with 10 or more employees but less than 25 are only required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave. Under current law, small businesses, those with 50 or fewer employees, are exempt from the 1993 Federal FMLA law.
The bill was released from the Senate Health and Social Services Committee yesterday and awaits a full vote in the Senate. You can view a full copy of the legislation here and a short summary here.
We continue to work closely with the bill sponsor, our Employer Advocacy Committee, and our members to ensure this proposal is a win for both employers and employees. On February 16, we are co-hosting a webinar with DelMarVa SHRM as an opportunity for businesses to learn more about this proposal. It is free to attend, but we ask that you register in advance here.
"I'd like to thank the State Chamber for their efforts in working with the sponsor of the bill
Other bills that saw movement:
Bills that were introduced but did not see movement:
The Chamber is looking for feedback from members on how any of these proposals may impact your company or employees. Please direct feedback to me at email@example.com.
The General Assembly is in recess through the month of February for Joint Finance Committee meetings.
By James DeChene, Armitage DeChene & Associates
PERHAPS YOU’VE SEEN the videos and pictures of an elected official touring a production plant, wearing a suit and tie, with a hard hat and goggles, and wondered, “Why would they (the company, or the elected official) do that?”
I’ve had the opportunity to be on tours like that for some very interesting companies including: walking through a nuclear submarine prior to its shakedown run, learning how a pharmaceutical company combats
counterfeit versions of their products globally, seeing how a UPS facility works, touring a major fabricator of intricate (and large) metal works projects, the Nylon Mile in Seaford, and more. Each of these events gave the
attendees an in-person look at how the “sausage is made”—note, if there are any sausage making facilities in Delaware, I’d love a tour. It’s a great opportunity to see how concepts come together and make a business successful.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating in-person meetings for over a year, the State Chamber created a successful Member-to-Member program. The concept is simple, but the outcomes are important. Work with Chamber staff to set up a meeting date to host your elected official—state House/Senate member—for a lunch/coffee and tour of your facility or office. That meeting is your chance to showcase your company, employees and the work they do, provide real examples of what the impact of legislation from Dover has on Delaware companies, and to build relationships with your representatives to provide feedback in the future.
I’ve written before on the concept that employers tell their story the best—and that’s the case if you’re a small firm looking to grow or if you’re a large, multi-national firm with headquarters or other significant footprint in Delaware. The current list of legislation to be considered next year, along with what will be crafted and introduced, will most likely impact many companies across the state. These meetings are a great opportunity to help educate and provide background to decision makers.
A few examples of issues that remain pending into next year:
If you have an interest in hosting an meeting at your company, the easiest way to start the process is to contact Tyler Micik at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chamber staff will help coordinate the timing of the meeting, provide talking points on pertinent legislation, and more. The summer and fall are great times to host these meetings while legislators have some free time and are planning legislation for next year. Being a part of the conversation is important now more than ever, and the Chamber can help you tell your story.
The realities of life and work are ever present, and employers are always trying to balance their workforce and competitive needs against the backdrop of economic factors and life events. The subject Senator Sarah McBride has taken on is very complicated and gets exponentially more challenging as smaller businesses are brought into the discussion. Many of these businesses do not have full time, dedicated human resource managers, or benefits policy experts.
The State Chamber has a broad and very diverse membership and our position on comprehensive changes to business operations, like this proposal, takes time to develop.
The State Chamber has met with Senator McBride to discuss her goals for this bill and will continue to communicate with her as this issue develops. Last week, we sent the Senator a letter that outlined our initial reactions around eligibility, benefits and protections, and implementation.
We appreciate the deliberative approach Senator McBride has taken with us. Our position may further evolve as our members offer additional insights and analysis into how this proposal would impact their employees and businesses.
Michael J. Quaranta
President, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce