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Long Overdue Frontline Worker Bonuses Signed into Law

On Friday, April 29, the legislature passed a bill to provide frontline workers a bonus check for their commitment to serving our community during the height of the pandemic. The measure will use $500 million of federal funds to provide "hero" payments to an estimated 667,000 frontline workers in specified sectors, including long-term care and home care settings like nursing homes and assisted living.

What We Know So Far

For caregivers: Frontline workers will need to attest that they meet specific eligibility criteria to receive $750 to $1500 (the bonus amount will depend on the number of applicants). Eligibility criteria for a bonus include terms of employment (work at least 120 hours from March 15, 2020 – June 30, 2021), inability to telework, whether you received unemployment insurance benefits, and income (less than $350,000 for joint tax filers, and $175,000 for single tax filers if you had direct COVID patient care, and less than $185,000 for joint tax filers or $85,000 for all other tax filers for non-patient-facing roles). The Department of Labor (DLI) will be creating an online portal where caregivers will be able to apply for the bonus. DLI estimates it will take a few months to get the portal up and running, but importantly, applicants will only have 45 days to apply once the site is live.

For employers: DLI will create a notice for employers to "conspicuously display" to notify employees of their potential eligibility for the frontline worker payment. Additionally, the notification must be provided to all employees in a paper or electronic format as soon as it is available, given the 45-day application limit. Unfortunately, this law will not reimburse employers who provided a voluntary bonus to employees during the peacetime emergency.

DLI is in the process of opening a multilingual call center to help answer questions. Additionally, Caregivers and Employers can sign up at frontlinepay.mn.gov to receive state updates about Frontline Worker Pay, and LeadingAge will continue to share information with members as it becomes available.

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