June 7, 2022

Employment Law

Minnesota Frontline Worker Bonus Pay

Over a half a million workers in Minnesota are on the “frontlines” of the COVID-19 pandemic.1 A study evaluating workers’ COVID-19 positivity rates between September 2020 and March 2021 found that frontline workers were 21% more likely to have tested positive for COVID-19, compared to non-frontline workers.2 ; To “compensate[e] workers for working in conditions that, in many cases, exceeded what was originally contemplated in their employment agreement to ensure our state was able to continue functioning during the pandemic,” on April 29, 2022, Governor Walz signed a bill providing bonus pay to eligible frontline workers.3 

The application for bonus pay is expected to open on June 8, 2022, though this is subject to change. When the application does open, workers will have 45 days to apply.4 Applications must be submitted through frontlinepay.mn.gov.

What sectors are considered “frontline”?

Individuals must work in one of the frontline sectors to be considered eligible. The frontline sectors include:

  • Long-term care and home care;
  • Health care;
  • Emergency responders;
  • Public health, social service, and regulatory service;
  • Courts and corrections;
  • Child care;
  • Schools, including charter schools, state schools, and higher education;
  • Food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale, and delivery;
  • Retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution and delivery;
  • Temporary shelters and hotels;
  • Building services, including maintenance, janitorial, and security;
  • Public transit;
  • Ground and air transportation services;
  • Manufacturing; and
  • Vocational rehabilitation.

Are all frontline workers eligible?

No. Frontline workers must meet other requirements beyond just having worked in a frontline sector. Workers in these sectors will be eligible for bonus pay if they were: employed for at least 120 hours in the state of Minnesota between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021; unable to work remotely due to the nature of their job duties; and worked in close proximity to people outside of the worker’s household.

Frontline workers may also be ineligible for bonus pay if their income exceeds certain limits. Workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must show that for at least one year between December 31, 2019, and January 1, 2022, their adjusted gross income was less than $350,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or less than $175,000 for other filers. Workers without direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must show income for at least a year during that same period of less than $185,000 for joint filers, or less than $85,000 for other filers. Further, workers must not have received unemployment insurance benefits for more than 20 weeks total between March 15, 2020, and June 26, 2021.    

More information regarding Frontline Worker Pay is available on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s website at https://www.dli.mn.gov/toolkit and at https://frontlinepay.mn.gov

Contact Our Minnesota Employment Attorneys

Wanta Thome PLC is committed to protecting the rights of all Minnesota employees. If you have questions about your employment rights, please contact our lawyers for a free initial consultation.



1. Nearly 670,000 Frontline Workers in Minnesota to Get $750 Pandemic Bonus, CBS News (May 5, 2022), https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stimulus-check-covid-19-frontline-workers-hero-pay-minnesota/ (last visited June 6, 2022).

2. See D. Phuong Do & Reanne Frank, U.S. Frontline Workers and COVID-19 Inequities, 153 Preventative Med. 3 (Dec. 2021), available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743521004023?via%3Dihub.

3. See 2022 Minn. Laws Ch. 50, S.F. 2677, Art. 2, § 1(2)

4. Minnesota Frontline Worker Pay, https://frontlinepay.mn.gov/.