Frontline workers to receive one-time payments for pandemic work

On April 30, Governor Tim Walz signed into law compensation for frontline, customer- and patient-facing workers who bore a significant amount of risk during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unions across the state, including Education Minnesota, fought hard to make sure state lawmakers approved these long-overdue payments to the school staff and other essential workers who kept our state running. 

Workers who are eligible include educators, nurses, first responders, childcare employees and retail workers. The technical details are straightforward: There is $500 million available for compensation. Employees in a number of listed categories are eligible to apply for a payment if:
•    They worked in person for at least 120 hours between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021. 
•    They did not receive unemployment for more than 20 weeks during that period.
•    For educators, their wages were no more than $185,000 for a married taxpayer filing a joint return or $85,000 for all other filers. 

Individuals will have to apply to the Department of Labor and Industry for these payments. DOLI will create an application process for employees. They are hoping to have the application ready by mid-June. Once that process opens, employees will have 45 days to apply. 

Employee payments are dependent on the number of eligible workers who apply. We believe the payments will be an average of $750 per person but will be lower if there are a significant number of applicants.

Details about the program, including the application process and timeline, are still being finalized and will be posted here when they are available. Sign up to receive updates about Frontline Worker Pay.