By Tyler Micik
The State Chamber’s Employer Advocacy Committee met in late October for their quarterly meeting. The committee was joined by Chris Counihan, Delaware Department of Labor’s (DOL) Paid Family and Medical Leave implementation manager. Counihan joined the Department in August with the task of setting up the new insurance program, along with a new division within the DOL to administer it. The new division will add between 35 to 60 employees to the Department, and they expect to be fully staffed by 2025.
Counihan discussed a few details within the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program—who is covered, when
the program begins, and when benefits are available. Some important dates for employers to be aware of:
Additionally, Counihan asked committee members for ideas on how the program could be set up, so the
system is simple and smooth for both employers and their employees to use.
One topic considered was eliminating double entry of information. In addition to passing the Healthy Delaware Families Act (PFML), the General Assembly also passed Delaware EARNS, which establishes a State-run voluntary employee IRA savings program. Both programs start the same day—January 1, 2025. Similarly, both require the creation of two new programs within two separate departments, one within the DOL and other in the State Treasurer’s office. Considering this, our members suggested creating a “one stop” system where employers can go to input information once for both programs.
Small businesses have limited resources and creating a system that gives employers the ability to input
information once for a variety of programs, such as PFML and EARNS, is important because it streamlines the process and saves employers valuable time and resources.
Taking the committee’s suggestion into consideration, after the meeting, Counihan held a preliminary meeting with the State Treasurer’s office to create a single data entry point for both programs. Additionally, they will be extending this initiative so that it becomes part of the DOL’s Unemployment Insurance and Workers Comp modernization efforts. There are also conversations on looping in the Department of Revenue so that all these programs and taxes are submitted through one entry point.
If you would like to participate in the Employer Advocacy Committee, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.