Governor Walz Signs Law Providing Frontline Worker Bonus Checks

On Friday, April 29, Governor Walz signed a law that establishes a $500,000,000 fund from which COVID-19 frontline workers may be eligible to receive an estimated $750 bonus.  State legislators believe that approximately 667,000 Minnesotans may be eligible for this bonus which is likely be paid out in early summer 2022.

Unlike certain prior pandemic financial assistance, the bonus payments will not be automatically sent out to eligible workers.  Instead, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will create an application process and provide eligible workers a 45-day window to apply for the bonus.

The frontline worker bonus is available to workers in healthcare, emergency response, childcare, schools, food service, public transit, and manufacturing, among other areas.  The frontline workers must have worked at least 120 hours in Minnesota between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021.  Eligibility is also based on income: workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must have had an annual income less than $175,000 (or $350,000 for married joint filers), and those without direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must have had an annual income less than $85,000 (or $185,000 for married joint filers).  Frontline workers who received more than 20 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits during the above-time period are not eligible for the bonus.

Bottom Line

Most importantly for those reading this article, the law requires all employers who employ frontline workers to provide notice to all current employees of the availability of this bonus.  Notice may be provided to all workers in paper or an electronic format, or it may be posted in a place where it may be readily viewed by all employees.  The DLI is finalizing the application process and setting the 45-day application time period and will provide employers a form notice to provide to employees.  Stay tuned to our blog for further updates as the application timeline and notice procedures are finalized.

More information about the frontline worker bonuses is available here.