Breaking: Minnesota Legislature Reaches Tentative Deal on Frontline Worker Bonuses, UI Trust

Legislative leaders reached a tentative deal today to restore the Unemployment Insurance Trust and issue frontline worker bonuses, a stalemate that has plagued elected officials for months.

The compromise will prevent a payroll tax hike for Minnesota businesses on April 30 and allow those who already paid the higher tax to get that excess back. Lawmakers also agreed to grant $750 bonus checks to approximately 667,000 frontline workers. The House and Senate intend to vote on the compromise this week and send the measure to Governor Walz by Friday evening.

We believe that assisted living and nursing home workers are amongst the frontline caregivers who will receive bonuses. As the details of the deal are released, we will share additional information on how and when the bonuses will be issued.

Reaching a compromise on this issue is deeply relevant to long-term care providers. First, it offers an overdue acknowledgment of the care that our caregivers provided during the height of the pandemic. Second, it sets parameters for the remainder of the Legislative session. Under the deal, $500 million of surplus funds will be used for frontline worker bonuses, $2.7 billion will go to replenishing the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, and $190 million will be set aside for Governor Walz's administration to use for COVID-related needs. While the full details are still emerging, this should leave much of Minnesota's ongoing revenue surplus available for the Legislature to allocate during the remaining four weeks of the session.

This compromise was a long-time coming, and the bonuses serve as a much-need, long-overdue thank you to the caregivers who served throughout the pandemic. However, a $750 bonus will do nothing to fill the 23,000 open caregiver positions in Minnesota's long-term care settings. With this political hurdle cleared, the Legislature's focus should return to providing permanent funding for caregiver wages as we have advocated for from the start.

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