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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 harassment||Gender expression||National Origin|
|Creed||Gender identity||Age (40+)||Pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions|
|Color||Genetic information||Marital status|
- Delaware labor laws regarding wage payment laws including covering frequency and manner of wage payments, regular paydays, payday, pay periods, deductions, direct deposit and payroll cards, wage statement, record keeping, final paychecks, and notice requirements.
- Delaware labor laws regarding minimum wage and overtime exemptions covering non-exempt employees and exempt employees.
- Delaware labor law regarding hours worked including rest breaks, meal breaks, on-call, waiting, travel, sleeping, and meeting times.
- The Delaware Department of Labor Division of Industrial Affairs helps employers comply with laws and regulations regarding workplace safety and health. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which covers federal workplace safety and health requirements.
- Active duty employees, including those in the national guard, and veterans may also be eligible for military leave under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
- The Delaware Department of Labor Division of Industrial Affairs manages workers’ compensation in Delaware and worker compensation insurance claims and enforcement. Employees who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that minimizes the financial impact on the employee.
- Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, employers in Delaware are required to provide 60-day advanced notice to any employees that may be impacted by a business closing or mass layoff if 50 or more employees will be impacted.
- If Delaware employers provide employees health insurance benefits, they must comply with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that provides health coverage protections to employees under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.
- Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employers must provide applicants and employees prior notice before conducting background checks involving credit reports. Other rules and limitation may also apply.