Legislative Update- Week of April 4, 2022

Legislative Update- Week of April 4, 2022

 Legislative Update the Week of April 4, 2022
The Delaware General Assembly is in session this week. The public may access the building.

  • The Delaware State Senate will hold session (floor votes) on Tuesday, April 5 at 2:00 p.m. On Wednesday, April 6, the Senate will hold committee hearings and then commence session at 4:00 p.m. OnThursday, April 7, the Senate will commence session at 2:00 p.m.
 To view the Senate Agenda, visit https://legis.delaware.gov/Agenda/Senate  
The Delaware State House of Representatives will hold session (floor votes) on Tuesday, April 5 at 2:00 p.m. There will be committee hearings on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, April 6, the House will hold committee hearings, but no floor votes. On Thursday, April 7, the House will commence session at 2:00 p.m.    
Paid Family and Medical Leave Bill in House committee this week. 
Senate Substitute 2 to Senate Bill 1, the second rewrite of the paid family and medical leave legislation sponsored by Senator Sarah McBride (D-Wilmington), will be heard in the House Health and Human Development Committee on Wednesday, April 6 at 11:00 a.m.  A link to observe (virtually) or participate in the hearing on the bill follows: 
For those wishing to attend the hearing in person, it will be held in the House Majority Hearing Room on the second floor of Legislative Hall at 11:00 a.m. 
The bill’s synopsis reads as follows: 
This Act, the Healthy Delaware Families Act, creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. Delaware employees can access up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave through the State's paid leave trust fund for a qualifying event, including for the following: (1) To address a worker's own serious health condition. (2) To care for a family member with a serious health condition. (3) To bond and care for a new child. (4) To address the impact of a family member's military deployment. This Substitute to Senate Bill No. 1 differs from Senate Bill No. 1 with regard to the eligibility determination process, covered relationships, length of leave, forms of leave covered, cumulative leave, eligibility criteria, implementation timeline, appeal process, departmental powers, and not requiring participation from certain smaller businesses. This Substitute differs from Senate Substitute No. 1 to Senate Bill No. 1 by making technical corrections, clarifying intent and providing greater statutory detail with regard to appeals, coordination of benefits, definitions, private plans, and departmental powers, and providing temporary flexibility regarding implementation.
Based on feedback from our membership, particularly among small and mid-sized businesses, the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce continues to oppose the legislation,
While there have been substantial improvements made to the legislation since the introduction of Senate Bill 1, in June of 2021; and the Chamber appreciates the Senator’s willingness to engage in dialogue with the business community. However, based on nearly a year of consultation with the membership, the Chamber finds that it must remain in opposition to the bill.
The bill passed the Senate on March 8 by a vote of 14-7. It requires a two-thirds vote, which, in the House is 25.  

To download a copy of this legislation, visit: https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?legislationId=79186
Chamber position: opposed. Status: In House Health and Human Development Committee. On committee agenda for Wednesday, April 5. 
Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 208, “Failure to Pay Wages,” on the Tuesday, April 5 Senate Agenda 
SS 1 to SB 208, sponsored by Senator Jack Walsh (D-Stanton) is on the Senate Agenda for Tuesday, April 5. The original bill would have removed the words “without any reasonable ground for dispute” from 19 Del. C. §1103(b)(1), in the statute dealing with the payment of wages, in essence, indicating that there are no reasonable grounds for employers to withhold a final paycheck, even in instances such an employee failing to return company equipment, intellectual property, etc. Under the bill, the employer would also be liable for liquidated damages.   
The Department of Labor contended that the legislation was not eliminating grounds for dispute, but was instead resolving an apparent conflict between §1103
The substitute bill retains the phrase “without any reasonable grounds for dispute” in 19 Del. C. §1103(b)(1)but refers to two other sections of Title 19 and “clarifies” what constitute reasonable grounds for dispute. Based on member input, including the opinion of a leading employment law practitioner, the Chamber maintains that the bill is reducing rather than clarifying reasonable grounds for dispute. Therefore, the Chamber remains opposed to the bill.
Among the Chamber’s concerns are that, should an employee withhold or fail to return employer property, employers will have little recourse except to file charges. 
The Chamber testified against the bill in the Senate Labor Committee in late JanuaryChamber positon: opposed. Status: On Senate Agenda for Tuesday, April 5.
To download a copy of the bill, visit: https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?legislationId=89296 
Chamber negotiating amendments on bill requiring retailers to accept cash.

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