Walz signs frontline worker relief and unemployment insurance

Gov. Tim Walz announced that the unemployment insurance and frontline worker relief bill has been signed into law.

The bill is set to provide direct payments to frontline workers and replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund, according to a news release sent from the governor’s office Friday night.

Walz said in the news release: “This is great progress for all Minnesotans. Our small businesses and frontline workers deserve this relief after these past two years. This bill is both a way to thank and invest in our small business and frontline workers. I am proud to have bipartisan support for this bill and I’m grateful for the legislators who made this a priority.”

The bill includes $500 million for direct payments to frontline workers and $2.7 billion for the state’s unemployment trust fund. The latter amount is also meant to prevent tax increases on small businesses that were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the news release.

For the first quarter of this year, the bill is meant to provide about $200 million of UI tax relief for 130,000 businesses.

Frontline workers includes anyone who work in long-term care and home care, health care, emergency response, temporary shelters and hotels, public health, social service, regulatory service, courts and corrections, child care, food service, retail, building services, public transit, ground and air transportation services, manufacturing, and vocational rehabilitation. The state estimates about 667,000 frontline workers will be eligible for a payment in recognition for their contributions made throughout the past two years.

Details on this program, including the application process, can be found here.