The Details on Frontline Worker Pay

June 9, 2022  |  Barton Walter and Krier

The Minnesota Legislature recently passed a bill that offers extra pay to those whose work was essential during the COVID-19 emergency period. Who qualifies for this “hero pay”? Keep reading to get the details on Frontline Worker Pay and find out what to know about the new law – as an employer or an employee.

What is Frontline Worker Pay?

On April 29, 2022, Governor Tim Walz signed into law a program that provides payment to COVID-19 frontline workers. The Frontline Worker Pay law is a way to thank those who continued to work during the pandemic because the requirements of their jobs necessitated an in-person presence. Eligible workers can apply for their share of a state-funded $500 million bonus pool.

Information continues to evolve as the program develops. Instructions can be found on the State of Minnesota government portal as details progress.

Qualifying and Applying

The application process is expected to open in early-to-mid June. Once the system is set to accept applicants, eligible employees have 45 days to apply for Frontline Worker Pay.

Applicants must meet certain requirements to qualify, including:

  • Employed a minimum of 120 hours between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021, in Minnesota in at least one frontline sector
  • During that time, was unable to telecommute due to the nature of the job and worked closely with others outside the household
  • Satisfies income requirements for at least one year from December 31, 2019, and January 2, 2022
  • Did not collect unemployment insurance benefits payments collectively for more than 20 weeks between March 15, 2020, and June 26, 2021

For a full list of qualifying frontline job sectors, visit the Minnesota Frontline Worker Pay information sheet.

Eligible employees who apply will evenly split the $500 million bonus pool. Each qualified applicant is expected to receive about $750. This number is based on estimated applicants. So, if fewer employees apply, those who do could receive more, not to exceed $1,500.

Employees who are denied when applying can appeal the decision within 15 days of their denial notification.

What Employers Should Know

Employers in applicable job sectors are required to inform employees of the possible bonus pay benefits within 15 days of the start of the application window. All potentially eligible employees must be notified in a form authorized by the Commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI).

The notice should be readily available and prominently displayed in an area to which all employees have access. The information must be provided to employees in the same way the employer provides other work-related information. In addition, the DOLI form will be available in multiple languages to better assist a diverse range of employees.

BWK Can Help with the Particulars

If you’re an employer or an employee looking to better understand the details on Frontline Worker Pay and the application process, BWK can help. With big-firm knowledge and proficiency in tax services (and more), we’re your go-to partner for compliance, payroll, and tax concerns. Contact our team today to learn more or to find out how to proceed with your Hero Pay notifications or applications.