Delaware Labor Laws 2024 | Wage and Hour Laws in Delaware

Delaware Labor Laws

Delaware labor laws, including Delaware labor laws 2024, impact the daily lives of employees and employers in Delaware. Residents of Delaware have many questions that affect them every day regarding Delaware labor laws from minimum wage rates, overtime, wage payments, vacation and sick leave, child labor, meal and rest breaks, and more.

In addition to Delaware labor laws, employer must also comply with federal labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and many other federal laws. And when federal laws are different from state Delaware labor laws, usually companies must comply with the law that provides their workers the best protection.

Below we provide comprehensive information and resources regarding your more pressing Delaware labor law questions to help you answer the question and help you make the right decision about you and your employment.

Minimum Wage

Delaware has a unique schedule regarding its minimum wage. The state minimum wage is currently $10.50 and will increase annually by the following:

  • 2023 – $11.75
  • 2024 – $13.25
  • 2025 – $15.00

Like other states, employers must pay Delaware employees either the state or federal standard minimum wage, whichever is higher. If the federal minimum wage rate is higher than the state’s, Delaware will increase its minimum wage.

Tipped employees have a minimum wage of $2.23. When combining tipped wages and tips, employees must make the standard minimum wage. If not, employers are responsible for accommodating the difference.Visit our Delaware minimum wage information page to learn more about minimum wage in Delaware.

Related topic covered on other pages include:


Delaware labor laws do not have laws governing the payment of overtime. Federal overtime laws apply. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.

Prevailing Wages

Under certain circumstances, employers in Delaware may be required to pay residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage rates.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the Delaware Prevailing Wages, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.

Meals and Breaks

Delaware labor laws require employers to grant a meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes to employees 18 years of age or older scheduled to work 7½ or more hours per day. The meal break may be unpaid, except under rare circumstances. Meal breaks must be given sometime after the first two (2) hours of work and before the last two (2) hours of work. This rule does not apply when:

  • The employee is a professional employee certified by Delaware’s State Board of Education and employed by a local school board to work directly with children.
  • There is a collective bargaining agreement or other employer-employee written agreement, which provides otherwise.

The Secretary of Labor has issued rules granting exemptions when:

  • Compliance would adversely affect public safety
  • Only one (1) employee may perform the duties of a position
  • An employer has fewer than five (5) employees on a shift at one (1) location (the exception would only apply to that shift).
  • Continuous nature of an employer’s operations such as chemical production or research experiments, requires employees to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and the employees are compensated for their meal breaks.

Where exemptions are allowed, employees must be allowed to eat meals at their workstations or other authorized locations and use rest room facilities as reasonably necessary. DE Admin. Code 19-1327

Delaware employers must grant a meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes to employees under the age of 18 scheduled to work more than five (5) hours continuously per day. DE Statute 19-507

Nursing Mother Breaks

Delaware labor laws require employers with four (4) or more employees to provide employees who are nursing mothers with break to express breast milk. Employers must also provide employees who are nursing mothers with appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk. DE Statute 19-710, 711

Vacation Leave

In Delaware, employers are not required to provide employees with unpaid or paid benefits. Additionally, employers can create policies that deny employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon employment termination.

Employers can also implement policies denying employees vacation if they don’t meet specific requirements. However, they must offer paid vacation benefits for accrued time off if it’s detailed in an employment contract. Employers must discuss these terms with employees before their first day of work.Visit our Delaware vacation leave information page to learn more about vacation leave in Delaware.

Sick Leave

Delaware employers aren’t required to provide employees with unpaid or paid sick leave. If employers opt to offer these benefits, they must follow the policies outlined in their employment contracts.

Also, employers could be required to provide unpaid sick days under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Visit our Delaware sick leave information page to learn more about sick leave in Delaware.

Holiday Leave

Private employers in the state aren’t required to offer employees unpaid or paid holiday leave. Also, they aren’t required to pay a premium rate if employees work on holidays.

There aren’t any current laws preventing employers from requiring their staff to work on holidays. Employees could earn premium wages (1.5x their regular pay, for example) if their hours are classified as overtime. Delaware employers must abide by overtime laws when addressing payments in these instances.

Visit our Delaware holiday leave information page to learn more about holiday leave in Delaware.

Jury Duty Leave

Delaware employers aren’t required by law to provide employees with paid time off to attend to a jury summons or jury duty. Employers cannot consider any wages paid by the state for jury service as wages.

Additionally, employees cannot be penalized, coerced, or threatened for attending to a summons or serving as a jury member.

Visit our Delaware jury duty information page to learn more about jury duty leave in Delaware.

Voting Leave

Employers in the state aren’t required to provide unpaid or paid time off to their employees to vote. However, they cannot stop employees from using accrued time to serve as election officers.

Please note that this only applies if the employee’s position isn’t considered a critical need position (ex., transportation, corrections, health care, etc.).

Employers who deny employees’ rights to use accrued leave or personal time to serve as an election officer could face penalties. These penalties include a fine, time in jail, or both. Additionally, if an employee is fired for serving as an election officer, they can sue their employer.Visit our Delaware voting leave information page to learn more about voting leave in Delaware.

Severance Pay

Delaware labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. See DE Statute 19-1109; Lloyd v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, 1985 Del. Super. LEXIS 1194 (1985). If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Unemployed individuals in Delaware can apply for unemployment benefits while seeking another job. However, there are specific requirements applicants must follow before being approved, including:

  • Applicants must be currently unemployed.
  • Applicants must have worked in Delaware within the past 12 months.
  • Applicants must have earned a specific amount of wages.
  • Applicants must be ready, willing, and able to work while filing for benefits.
  • Applicants must actively seek employment while receiving weekly benefits.

Visit Delaware’s unemployment information page to learn more about unemployment benefits in Delaware.

Other Delaware Labor Laws Topics and Resources

There are several other Delaware labor laws governing the employers and their workplaces. Below are those topics and resources:

  • Delaware child labor laws for children 17 years of age and younger including topics including work during school hours and summer hours, school days and non-school days, summer days of employment (usually June 1 to Labor Day), hour restrictions, work permits, and hazardous occupations.
  • The Delaware Department of Labor Division of Industrial Affairs Office of Anit-Discrimination enforces and protects employees workplace civil rights and against discrimination and retaliation. Employees are also protected by federal discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state and federal discrimination laws offer employees protections and violations based on the following:
Disability (a mental or physical impairment)Sex, including sexual harassmentGender expressionNational Origin
RaceSexual orientationReligionAncestry
CreedGender identityAge (40+)Pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions
ColorGenetic informationMarital status

Other State’s Labor Law and Wage and Hour Information

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District of ColumbiaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
FloridaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming
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