DOL Announces New Director of Vocational Rehabilitation

WILMINGTON, DE – Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Karryl Hubbard has announced that Elisha Jenkins will serve as the new Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), replacing former Director Andrea Guest, who retired earlier this year.

DVR is a partner in helping job seekers develop skill sets to find employment. The division strives to build relationships with employers so that Delaware job seekers can compete for opportunities and obtain employment that meets their needs.

Jenkins previously served as the Deputy Chief of Policy & Compliance in the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for the State of Delaware. Prior to that, she was Director of the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired.

A graduate of Norfolk State University with a BS in Sociology, Jenkins also earned a master’s degree in Public Administration and a master’s degree in Human Resources both from Wilmington University. Along with her educational background, Jenkins brings significant management experience to the role at DOL.

“We are excited to welcome Elisha to the DOL leadership team,” said Hubbard. “Delawareans will benefit from her impressive background and keen understanding of the challenges facing disabled workers.”

Jenkins will join DOL effective July 5, 2022.


Dept of Labor Teams Up with Community Partners to Offer Job Seekers Career Support

WILMINGTON, DE – The Delaware Department of Labor is teaming up with statewide partners to present a series of One-Stop Resource Expos in May to highlight the Delaware Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Dozens of partner organizations will be on hand at booths to speak with people about employment, education and other support programs.

Participating agencies will have an expo table to share key flyers, materials and inf0rmation. Those attending will be able to find information about areas of interest including Jobseeker Services, Employer Services, Skills Training, Re-entry & Justice-involved Services, Certification & Apprenticeship Programs, Small Business Development Assistance and youth & adult programs.

“The Expos are an important way to show the interdependent nature of DOL’s employment programming and the community and business partners needed to connect community members to services,” said DOL Secretary Karryl Hubbard. “DOL is the employment agency, and we want to partner with organizations that are in the business of changing people’s work lives for the better.”

The purpose of the Expos is to provide critical information to Delawareans about how best to access workforce development programming across the state. The events, which are tied to several employment programs offered by DOL’s Division of Employment & Training, will span three different days, at three separate locations across Delaware.

The event dates and locations are as follows:

  • Kent County: Monday, May 9 at Modern Maturity Center in, Dover
  • Sussex County: Thursday, May 12 at Cheer Center in Georgetown
  • New Castle County: Tuesday, May 24 at Delaware Park in Wilmington

Representatives from dozens of career services organizations like Delaware Public Libraries, Department of Health & Social Services, Goodwill of Delaware & Delaware County, Tech Impact, Delaware Tech and Delaware State University will be on hand.

The Expos will be open from 9:30am to 12:30pm and are open to the public others interested in learning more about programs that are designed to help job seekers. No registration is required.

For more information, contact Hope Ellsworth at 302-236-6805


New Employer UI and Construction Employer Tax Rates for 2022

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

WILMINGTON, DE – The Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) is announcing the new Employer Unemployment Insurance and new Construction employer tax rates for 2022, effective January 1, 2022.

  • New Employer and new Construction employer rates are maintained at 2020 levels
  • Establish 2022 merit rate at lower of 2020, 2021, or 2022 tax rate, except for delinquency rate (conditions apply)
  • Authorization for DOL to issue credits to employers and reduce the delinquency tax rate to correct administrative errors or address fraudulent claims charged to employers (conditions apply, including being current on filing all quarterly reports)
  • Establish 2022 taxable wage base at $14,500 (down from $16,500 in 2021)

 

COVID related and fraudulent claims, as well as delays in receiving and processing employers’ 2020 and 2021 tax payments impacted employer tax rates in 2021.

 

The Secretary, with the unanimous support of the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, took these actions to prevent the issues from persisting into 2022. Lowering the taxable wage base to $14,500 is estimated to save employers more than $11 million in 2022.

 

These actions were made possible by the Governor and General Assembly’s investment of nearly $250 million of the State’s Coronavirus Relief Funds to the Unemployment Insurance trust fund.

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for Delaware employers,” said DOL Secretary Karryl Hubbard. “These actions reaffirm our commitment to maintain UI taxes at the lowest levels possible, allowing employers to reinvest that money in their workers and infrastructure in order to restore their companies and the Delaware economy to pre-pandemic levels.”

 

The Delaware Department of Labor connects people to jobs, resources, monetary benefits, workplace protections, and labor market information to promote financial independence, workplace justice, and a strong economy. The department is made up of four main divisions: Unemployment Insurance, Employment & Training, Industrial Affairs, and Vocational Rehabilitation.

 

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Media Contact:
Alejandro Bodipo-Memba
DOL Communications
302-761-8002


DOL Conducting 2022 Annual Prevailing Wage Survey

The Division of Industrial Affairs (DIA) at the Department of Labor (DOL) is currently conducting its Annual Prevailing Wage Survey for state-funded construction projects – over 3,800 survey forms will be mailed out to contractors on December 27, 2021.

The completed survey forms must be postmarked or returned to DIA for the data to be used in the calculation of the Delaware Prevailing Wage Rates no later than February 8, 2022.

DIA plans to publish its annual “Prevailing Wage Determination”  on or before March 15, 2022, which is valid for a period of one year.

The following are copies of survey instructions and forms:

Contact Department of Labor about the Annual Prevailing Wage Survey at 302-761-8200.


Unemployment Insurance Policy Regarding Employer Vaccine Mandates

WILMINGTON, DE – The Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) has issued policy to address questions and concerns about a claimant’s eligibility to collect Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits after refusing to be vaccinated or tested as required by an employer.

Delaware law states that claimants are not allowed to receive UI benefits if they have violated an employers’ policy that is deemed to be reasonable in nature and has been clearly communicated to employees. In general, DOL has determined that vaccine requirements by employers are considered reasonable in nature.

Employees and claimants that fail to comply with employer-initiated COVID-19 vaccination requirements, in most instances, would not qualify to receive UI benefits upon separation from the employer. Like all UI claims, eligibility will depend on the specific circumstances as each claim is unique and reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance stating employers can require that an employee receive the COVID-19 vaccine to return to the workplace, unless the employee cannot get the vaccine due to a disability, a doctor has advised a woman not to get the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding, or because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.

Employers who hire union employees are also encouraged to review the governing collective bargaining agreement before requiring vaccinations. All relevant federal and state laws should be consulted by employers as they consider whether a reasonable accommodation is required.