Minnesota Senate File No. 2677, Unemployment and Frontline Workers Act

On April 29, 2022, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Senate File (SF) No. 2677 into law, replenishing state unemployment funds and authorizing payments to various frontline workers. This new law requires Minnesota employers to notify eligible frontline workers of potential additional benefits available to them. The new law states the following:

Subd. 7. Mandatory notice. (a) No later than 15 days after the opening of the application period…, front-line employers must provide notice, in a form approved by the Commissioner of Labor and Industryinforming all current workers who may be eligible for payments… of the help that may be available to them and how to apply for benefits. An employer must provide notice using the same means as the employer uses to provide other work-related notices to employees. (Underlined in bold italics added.)

(b) The notice … must be at least as prominent as:

(1) post a copy of the notice at each workplace where workers work and where the notice can be readily observed and reviewed by all workers working at the site; or

(2) provide a paper or electronic copy of the notice to all workers.

The “frontline sector” is defined as the following sectors under the new law: “(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, public 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) construction services, including maintenance, janitorial and security; (12) public transportation; (13) land and air transport services; (14) manufacturing; and (15) vocational rehabilitation. Thus, employers in the above-mentioned fields will have to respect the provision of fifteen days’ notice provided for by law.

A few important notes:

  • The state has not yet opened the application period. The wages of frontline workers in Minnesota website states the following: “We are currently working on the online application system. When the system is ready to accept applications, eligible workers will have 45 days to apply for Frontline Worker Pay. The creation by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry of the application process will trigger the requirement of fifteen days notice from the employer. Minnesota’s Frontline Worker Pay website states the following:

Within 15 days of the opening of the application period, employers in the identified frontline sector must provide notice to all current workers who may be eligible for the assistance payments available to them and how to apply for the payments. The Department of Labor and Industry is currently developing a form that can be used by employers to meet this obligation and it will be available on this page when it is complete.

  • The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is developing a form that front-line employers can use to meet the notice requirement. It is expected that the application period will open shortly after the IDD has developed and distributed the application form.

  • The IDD provided a Web page where frontline employers can sign up to receive email updates to stay informed of when the fortnight will be triggered.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 127