Delaware Hours Worked




Vacation Leave

In Delaware, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. See Delaware Code 19-1109; Willey v. Beneficial Corp., 1986 Del. Super. LEXIS 1072 (1986); Lloyd v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, 1985 Del. Super. LEXIS 1194 (1985). If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. See Delaware Code 19-1109; Lloyd v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, 1985 Del. Super. LEXIS 1194 (1985).

An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they are terminated. See Lloyd v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, 1985 Del. Super. LEXIS 1194 (1985).



An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See Lloyd v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, 1985 Del. Super. LEXIS 1194 (1985).

An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Delaware Code 19-1109.

An employer is not required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter, unless the employer has established a practice of doing so. Santengelo v. Elite Beverage, Inc., 783 A.2d 500, 65 Conn. App. 618 (2001).

An employer may lawfully cap the amount of leave an employee may accrue over time. See Hullinger v. Corrin, 1987 Del. C.P. LEXIS 6 (1987); Willey v. Beneficial Corp., 1986 Del. Super. LEXIS 1072 (1986).

An employer would also likely be free to implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it. See Delaware Code 19-1109; Lloyd v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, 1985 Del. Super. LEXIS 1194 (1985).



Sick Leave

In Delaware, employers are not required to provide employees with sick leave, either paid or unpaid. See 19 Del.C. 1109; Lloyd v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, 1985 Del. Super. LEXIS 1194 (1985). If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

An employer in Delaware may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.



Holiday Leave

Delaware law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. See Delaware Code 19-1109. In Delaware, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

State holidays

Visit our Delaware State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Delaware as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.



Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee for responding to a jury summons or for serving on a jury. An employer may not consider as wages the fee paid by the state to an employee for jury service. Delaware Code 10-4514

An employer may not discharge, penalize, threaten, or otherwise coerce an employee because the employee receives or responds to a summons or serves as a juror. Delaware Code 10-4515



Voting Leave

Delaware law does not require an employer to allow employees time off, paid or unpaid, to vote.

If an employee has vacation time, an employer cannot prevent the employee from using accrued time to act as an election officer, so long as the employee is not in a critical need position. Critical Need Position is an employee in: public safety, corrections, transportation, health care, utilities, a small business employing twenty (20) or less people, or necessary for the business or industry to operate on election day.

An employer who refuses to allow an employee to use accrued vacation or personal leave to serve as an election officer may be found guilty of criminal contempt which can result in a fine of up to a $500 or 180 days in jail or both. Also, if an employer fires an employee in violation of this law, the employee may file a law suit within 90 days for lost wages and reinstatement and may be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees.

Delaware Code 15-4709



Bereavement Leave

Delaware law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.