Full House Passes Bill Providing Front-Line Worker Pay

February 28, 2022

The bill would allow eligible workers, whose jobs put them at risk of contracting COVID-19, to apply for payments of $1,500.

The full House has approved $1 billion of front-line worker pay for people who worked jobs that put them at risk of contracting COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic.

HF 2900 (Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope) passed the House by a 71-61 vote. Under this bill, an estimated 667,000 eligible front-line workers could apply for payments of $1,500.

Last year the Legislature appropriated $250 million for the program, but a Front-line Worker Pay Working Group failed to reach an agreement in the interim on how to distribute the funds. HF 2900 moved forward as the DFL proposal, going through six committees with several amendments along the way before reaching the House floor.

Eligibility

The following sectors are included in the bill:

  • 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
  • Vocational rehabilitation.

Workers must have worked in person for at least 120 hours in Minnesota for one or more front-line sectors during the time period of March 15, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Payments are subject to the following income limits:

  • $85,000 ($185,000 for a married taxpayer filing a joint return)
  • $175,000 for those who worked directly with COVID-19 patients ($350,000 for a married taxpayer filing a joint return)

The funds would be administered through an application system run by the Department of Labor and Industry. The payments would not be considered as income for tax purposes.

Impact to cities

Under this bill, employers in front-line sectors — including cities — must provide notice advising all current employees who may be eligible for the front-line worker pay and how to apply, within 15 days of when the application period is opened.

Status of Senate bill

The Senate companion bill, SF 2650 (Sen. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul), has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing. It differs from the Republican proposal of providing pay of $1,200 to a more limited pool of nurses, first responders, nursing home caregivers, and correctional officers.

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