Front-Line Worker Pay Application Now Open

June 13, 2022

Cities are required to notify potentially eligible employees by June 23.

Minnesotans who were front-line workers during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency can now apply to the state for front-line worker pay. Employers, including cities, are required to give notice to employees that the application period is open.

The law was approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Tim Walz as Chapter 50 on April 29.

The law requires that employers in front-line sectors provide notice to employees by June 23, and the state has provided a model notice. The application period is June 8–July 22.

Access the state’s model notice for front-line worker pay

Eligible employees

The COVID-19 frontline workers who are eligible for the payment are individuals in a public-facing job who were regularly required to work with the public during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The qualifications for the pay are outlined on the state’s front-line pay webpage. They include the following:

  • Must have been employed at least 120 hours in Minnesota in one or more front-line sectors between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
  • For the hours worked during this time period, the applicant:
    • Was not able to telework due to the nature of the individual’s work.
    • Worked in close proximity to people outside of the individual’s household.
  • Must meet the income requirements for at least one year between Dec. 31, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2022:
    • Workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must have had an adjusted gross income of less than $350,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or less than $175,000 for other filers.
    • For workers in occupations without direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities, the adjusted gross income limit is $185,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or $85,000 for other filers.
  • Must not have received an unemployment insurance benefit payment for more than 20 weeks on a cumulative basis for weeks between March 15, 2020, and June 26, 2021 (Minnesota Statutes, section 085, subdivision 1, clause 6).

Learn more about eligibility from the state’s information sheet (pdf)

Many front-line city workers are eligible, but eligibility for pay is determined by the state, not the employer. A state fact sheet provides more information on sector and industry-specific eligibility. Section #3 of the fact sheet outlines public safety personnel and Section #4 mentions employees from government regulatory entities.

Read the state’s fact sheet on front-line sector guidance (pdf)

Consider sharing resources with all employees

While a city will want to notify specific groups of employees that they think MAY be eligible, it could also be helpful to share state resources with all employees, so they can decide if they wish to apply for the pay. Helpful resources include:

The state’s webpage notes, “If you are unsure if you are eligible, you should review the law and guidance and truthfully fill in and submit the application during the 45-day application period.”

Individual employees must complete the application themselves; the city will not want to apply for the employees since applicants need to certify they meet all eligibility requirements and provide the necessary information for verification.

The payment amount will depend on the number of applicants, which is unknown at this time. However, the maximum is $1,500 (and if the amount is at least $600, it will be subject to federal taxes).

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