This spring (2022), Minnesota established a new program that will provide certain eligible COVID-19 frontline workers with a bonus payment issued by the State. This includes employees of several types of private sector businesses. This means that employers in some job sectors are obligated to notify their employees of Minnesota’s Frontline Worker Pay Law. The State of Minnesota has posted general information about this bonus program at https://frontlinepay.mn.gov/. Final details on the application period and a template notice for employers to use are still pending, but here’s what we know as of June 2.
Covered Businesses: Which Employers Must Act?
Only “Frontline Sector” businesses will be required to notify current employees of the Frontline Work Pay Law. The law identifies these covered job sectors as:
- long-term care and home care;
- health care;
- emergency responders;
- public health, social service, and regulatory service;
- courts and corrections;
- child care;
- schools, including charter schools, state schools and higher education;
- food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale and delivery;
- retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution and delivery;
- temporary shelters and hotels;
- building services, including maintenance, janitorial and security;
- public transit;
- ground and air transportation services;
- manufacturing; and
- vocational rehabilitation.
Employer Notification Requirements: What Do Covered Employers Have to Do?
Frontline Sector employers are only required to notify current employees of the Frontline Work Pay Law. The employer is not responsible for determining an employee’s eligibility for the bonus, but it must circulate a notice to current employees about the program within 15 days from when the application period is opened by the State. The notice must be in a form approved by the Minnesota commissioner of labor and industry and be given to all current workers that may be eligible for the bonus. The employer must provide the notice using the same means it uses to provide other work-related notices. Employers should post the notice where it is readily observable for all workers or provide a paper or electronic copy of the notice to all workers. The prudent employer will deliver the notice in multiple ways and document what it did and when.
The application period for the Frontline Work Pay program has not yet been opened. The State is aiming for a June 8, 2022 open date, but it may be mid-June before the application period starts. Once the application period is opened by the State, employers will have 15 days from the open date to provide the notices to their employees on the form that is approved by the State. Employers can monitor the application opening date and the approved forms for employees in multiple languages at https://frontlinepay.mn.gov/.
UPDATE (6/7/2022) – Minnesota’s Frontline Worker Pay Law – Application Period Opens June 8 – Employers Have Until June 23, 2022 to Give Notice
The State of Minnesota has announced that the Frontline Worker Pay application will be open June 8 through July 22, 2022. To follow up on our post from June 2, 2022 , this means that employers in a frontline sector must provide their employees notice by June 23, 2022, advising all current workers who may be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay of the assistance potentially available to them and how to apply for benefits.
The State has posted an approved employer notice for frontline employers to use and circulate to employees before June 23, 2022.