Senator Says Measure Would Also Replenish the State’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
Senator Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul) said that on Friday, the Senate approved $500 million in long-awaited bonus checks for 667,000 Minnesota frontline workers – including thousands of workers in St. Paul – who got the state through the past two years of a deadly pandemic. The measure, which at the same time replenishes the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund, also passed in the House and was quickly signed into law by Governor Walz.
Sen. Hawj said the legislation will send $750 to Minnesotans working in health care or long-term care facilities, child-care workers, grocery store staff, and retail employees. For many months, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Caucus has been fighting to enact the bonuses, but their efforts were blocked each time by the Republican majority.
“I fought hard for the frontline workers because they put their health and safety on the line to get us through a deadly pandemic. A word of thank you is not enough.” said Sen. Hawj. “These bonuses reward workers who did not have the option of working from home, and their sacrifices got Minnesota through this health and economic crisis. They deserve these bonuses and have waited far too long for them”
Sen. Hawj said that among the frontline workers eligible for bonus checks are: home care and long-term care workers, building maintenance, janitorial and security workers, school workers, food service workers public health workers, retail workers, hotel and temporary shelter workers, ground and air transportation workers, manufacturing and vocational rehabilitation workers.
Preventing Tax Increases for Minnesota Businesses
Senator Hawj said the bill also included $2.7 billion to replenish Minnesota’s UI trust fund that was depleted when the pandemic put thousands of Minnesota workers out of a job. The move will prevent a tax increase on thousands of Minnesota businesses that pay into the fund. The fund was critical in keeping afloat the unemployed families and individuals who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
“The UI trust fund has worked, and our families and our businesses were fortunate to have that safety net during such a difficult time,” said Sen. Hawj. “I’m glad we are putting the resources towards replenishing this important safety net.”
Sen. Hawj said the State’s Department of Labor and Industry will be reaching out to Minnesota frontline workers in the coming days to let them know how they can apply for their bonus check.