Governor Carney Signs Paid Family Leave Legislation

Healthy Delaware Families Act Creates Statewide Leave Program effective January 1, 2025



DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed Senate Substitute 2 for Senate Bill 1 into law surrounded by members of the General Assembly and advocates. This legislation creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program, offering eligible Delaware workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to address a worker’s own serious health condition; to care for a family member with a serious health condition; to bond and care for a new child; or to address the impact of a family member’s military deployment.

Statewide paid family and medical leave will go into effect for workers in Delaware on January 1, 2025.

“This legislation will build on the work we’ve done for state employees and extend paid leave into the private sector. It’s the right thing to do and it will make Delaware more attractive for younger workers,” said Governor John Carney. “Thank you to Senator McBride and Representative Heffernan for their leadership on this important issue.”

“Today is about families and the most Delaware of values: that in a state of neighbors, we share a duty to care, to support one another when we need it most and to look out for each other’s family like we do our own,” said Senator Sarah McBride. “My heart is full of gratitude for the many advocates and leaders who supported taking real action for the new moms forced to go back to work days after giving birth, for the parents fundraising online to make up for wages they lost while caring for a sick child, and for the patients who had to forgo treatment to pay their rent or keep food on the table,” she said. “Through collaboration and compassion, we have shown that small states can do big things for the people we represent.”

“When you consider the health benefits of this legislation combined with the economic impact it will have on working families, Senate Bill 1 is really one of the most transformative policies to come before the 151st General Assembly,” said Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend. “This bill answers one of the most profound hardships that families are facing today with a smart, compassionate solution that will support our state’s families while also strengthening our workforce and the businesses that depend on it.”

“Today, we’re confirming what many have known for a long time: Paid family leave is a right. This isn’t a perk or some nice-to-have benefit; it’s essential to welcome a child, care for a sick or dying loved one, or deal with a serious medical issue. When my first child was born, I had to take short-term disability, then unpaid leave. By the time I had my other two kids, I left my full-time job because I couldn’t afford to take unpaid leave and then pay for daycare. No parent should have to make that decision,” said Representative Debra Heffernan. “The Healthy Delaware Families Act says that Delaware workers will no longer have to choose between their children, their loved ones, their health, and their job. It will give residents the security to take on these critical life situations and know that they don’t have to sacrifice their careers. Employers know this is a sound and compassionate policy. That’s why so many companies already offer paid family leave.”

“The reality is that many of us will have to step away from our work to welcome a new family member, recover from an illness, or care for our loved ones. The Healthy Delaware Families Act will ensure that workers are able to meet these urgent personal and family health care needs without having to worry about job security or other concerns down the road,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst. “This legislation is truly a win-win solution that will empower workers to make decisions that are right for their physical, mental, and emotional health, while leveling the playing field for employers and businesses of all sizes.”