On April 29, 2022, Governor Tim Waltz approved a new bill authorizing pandemic payments to hundreds of thousands of frontline workers, with implications for Minnesota employers.
Senate File 2677 applies to employers and employees in fifteen specified “frontline sectors,” including: (1) long-term care and home care; (2) health care; (3) emergency responders; (4) public health, social service, and regulatory service; (5) courts and corrections; (6) child care; (7) schools, including charter schools, state schools, and higher education; (8) food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale, and delivery; (9) retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution, and delivery; (10) temporary shelters and hotels; (11) building services, including maintenance, janitorial, and security; (12) public transit; (13) ground and air transportation services; (14) manufacturing; and (15) vocational rehabilitation.
In order to be eligible for the payments, employees in these frontline sectors must meet certain designated requirements and apply online to the commissioner of labor and industry. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has not yet created an application system, nor has it yet opened the application period. However, the MNDOLI has provided an application website that will be updated as the application period opens, and a sign-up website for email updates regarding the process.
Under the Bill, Employers in the specified frontline sectors have an obligation to:
“No later than 15 days after the application period is opened . . . provide notice, in a form approved by the commissioner of labor and industry, advising all current workers who may be eligible for payments under this section of the assistance potentially available to them and how to apply for benefits.”
The employer must provide the required notice “using the same means the employer uses to provide other work-related notices to employees.” The bill provides a few examples, stating that notice “must be at least as conspicuous as: (1) posting a copy of the notice at each work site where workers work and where the notice may be readily observed and reviewed by all workers working at the site; or (2) providing a paper or electronic copy of the notice to all workers.”
Takeaway: The MNDOLI is currently developing a form that can be used by employers to meet their notice obligation under the bill. It will be available on the application website when it is completed. Employers should consider applying to the sign-up website for email notifications when the application period is open and the form is complete.