Delaware employers should be well versed in the state and federal laws that govern issues such as minimum wage, overtime, meal breaks and plant closings. These wage and hour laws set the stage for a fair workplace. Breaking these laws can have serious consequences, including costly lawsuits.
Minimum Wage in Delaware
The minimum wage in Delaware is $8.25 as of June 1, 2015, which is exactly $1 above the federal rate of $7.25. Workers who qualify for minimum wage in Delaware are entitled to the higher of the two rates.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: People who earn tips in Delaware must receive a minimum wage of $2.23 per hour, slightly above the federal rate of $2.13 an hour. Once a worker’s tips are counted, he or she must have made at least $8.25 an hour or else the employer will have to make up the difference.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Delaware exempts the following people from minimum wage laws: people who work in agriculture or fishing; people who work in outside commission sales positions; people who work in domestic service in a private home; U.S. government employees; executives and professionals who earn a salary; people who volunteer for nonprofits; and inmates who work with a program through the Department of Corrections.
More information on minimum wage exemptions may be viewed in the state law.
When Are Raises Required: No state or federal law requires Delaware employers to give workers a raise. However, if there is an agreement that outlines when and how pay increases may be given, an employer must uphold its end of the contract.
Work Hours in Delaware
There is no state law in Delaware that sets the number of hours an employer can require an employee to work. Instead, Delaware abides by the Fair Labor Standards Act that states that most people must receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week.
Paying Overtime: Someone who works more than 40 hours in a week in Delaware will receive one and one-half times his or her regular hourly wage for each hour over 40 hours. Under federal law, there is no special pay rate for weekends or holidays unless working those days would put the employee at more than 40 hours. People who are exempt from overtime pay include salaried professionals.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Anyone who works more than 7.5 hours a day in Delaware is entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes. That break must come after the first two hours that the employee works and before the final two hours that he or she works. There are some exceptions to the rule, including if there is a written agreement in place between the employer and the employee.
Nursing mothers are also required a pump break for the first year after a child’s birth, according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The employer also must give the mother a space other than a bathroom.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: Employers in Delaware are not required to give workers paid or unpaid time off, whether it is for sick or vacation leave. These issues are typically a matter of agreement between the company and the employee.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Delaware businesses do not have to give employees any notice of termination. The state abides by at-will employment, which means a business can fire someone at any time and for any legal reason.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: Delaware, like many other states, uses the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to determine how much notice a qualified business must give of a significant layoff or plant closing. The law applies to employers that have at least 100 full-time employees or at least 100 employees who work a combined 4,000 hours or more every week. If there is a layoff that will affect at least 33 percent of the workforce or if a plant will close, the business must give 60 days’ notice.RESOURCES:
- http://delcode.delaware.gov/title19/c011/index.shtml Legal Disclaimer
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