By Tyler Micik
In late January, Chris Counihan, Director, Division of Paid Leave for the Delaware Department of Labor (DDOL), shared the draft regulations for Delaware’s new Paid Family Medical Leave insurance program. Chris asked the State Chamber, among others, to submit feedback to the DDOL on the regulations by February 7 so the Department could have time to review everyone’s suggestions and submit a revised version of the regulations to the Office of the Registrar by February 15.
The State Chamber asked Timothy Holly, Esq., a partner in the labor and employment law department of Connolly Gallagher, LLP, to review the regulations and help formulate a response to the 42 pages of draft regulations on behalf of DSCC. These regulations are complicated for many, especially smaller businesses who are trying to navigate both Delaware and federal laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It will to take time for employers to sort out what this new law means and how it will be implemented in real time and administered.
Time is of the essence. Delaware employers have a deadline of January 1, 2024, to take action if they want to pursue the opportunity to opt out of Delaware’s public plan and perhaps also potentially reduce the amount of parental leave they will be required to provide, though details for that are unclear. Employers must also be prepared to take action as it pertains to providing various notices to employees including regarding the amount of “contribution” that will be passed ontito employees through payroll deduction, particularly since many employees likely are unaware of this consequence to them from the new law (i.e. less pay in their pocket).
In February, Holly submitted a letter to the DDOL on behalf of the State Chamber which presents high-level comments and provides regulation-specific observations, requests, and/or concerns. Some examples from the letter include:
You can view the State Chamber’s full response to the draft regulations here. The State Chamber hopes this feedback, in addition to other’s recommendations, can be used to help the DDOL produce regulations that will be informative, helpful, and less burdensome on businesses as this new law is learned, implemented, and administered.
Although the February deadline has passed, the Department is still seeking feedback. It’s important for businesses to stay engaged throughout this process and read carefully through the draft and final regulations. While the State Chamber’s letter may be used by others to help tease out some thoughts and questions, others should continue to formulate their own comments, even if it’s only on a particular section of the draft regulations like grandfathering of private plans and share those comments with the DDOL and legislators.