Bonus Pay Approved for Frontline Workers
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz held a ceremonial bill signing Monday morning to celebrate the passage of compromise legislation that provides bonus pay for thousands of pandemic frontline workers. The same bill also replenishes the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
The bill would make available money to roughly 667,000 workers. Bonus checks would amount to roughly $750 a person. Eligible workers and sectors include:
- health care
- long-term care facilities
- emergency responders
- public health
- courts and corrections
- child care
- food production
- retail clerks
- grocery workers
- bus drivers
It’s expected to take months to set up a system to process the applications and send out the money.
Back in February, North Memorial Health Hospital nurse Mary Turner said the bill is “exactly what we need.” However, disagreements stalled its passage. Republican and DFL lawmakers differed on who should be eligible. DFLers favored a broader pool of workers and more money. Republicans sided toward a more narrow pool of workers focusing on nurses and long-term care professionals.
“To show our gratitude for those who continued to serve our state in light of personal risk, the Senate passed important legislation that will provide these workers with a meaningful bonus,” said Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, in a statement to CCX News.
In addition, the bill provides $2.7 billion for the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, which was depleted by requests during COVID-related lockdowns. According to state officials, about 130,000 businesses will receive unemployment insurance (UI) tax relief as a result of the bill.
“This investment means we won’t have to raise future UI tax rates right at this critical moment of expansion for Minnesota’s economy,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove.