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Minnesota Workers Earn Pandemic ‘Hero Pay’

On April 29, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law that promised front-line workers bonus checks as pandemic relief. 

As reported by the Star Tribune, there is $500 million in total workers’ compensation for an estimated 667,000 workers across the state. Operating under the assumption that every worker applies for the payment — which will probably not be the case — that equates to roughly $750 per person. Workers could earn more than $750 if fewer people apply and qualify for the payment. 

People cannot apply for ‘hero pay’ just yet. When the application period opens, eligible caregivers will have 45 days to apply for Frontline Worker Pay. The state’s website currently lists mid-June as the estimated start time for the 45-day application period, with payments anticipated in early fall. 

There are many rules and stipulations for qualifying, so make sure you’re up to date and well versed on all the latest eligibility requirements. The criteria for qualification are outlined in the Frontline Worker Pay law. You can review it here:

Assuming you qualify, your employer must provide you with a notice within 15 days of the application opening so that you will have time to apply. If you are denied payment, you will have a 15-day appeal period to contest the denial. 

Minnesota encourages everyone to help spread the word to those workers who may be eligible to apply. Additionally, the state created an outreach toolkit with sample text for newsletters, social media posts and graphics, which will soon be translated into multiple languages. 

For some essential workers, that’s not the only good news that has come their way recently. An increased reimbursement rate for PCA services was approved effective April 1, 2022. Accra used this increase to bring PCA Choice hourly wages to $15.25, three months ahead of the requirements of the current union contract.

Accra has a long recorded history of advocating for more pay for healthcare workers. For example, Accra President and CEO John Dahm testified before the House Committee of Human Services Finance and Policy Committee in support of HF 663 to provide livable wages for PCAs in March 2021. To see that video, click the link below:

For more information on ‘hero pay,’ you can read this FAQ document or visit this link on the Minnesota Government’s website.