Frontline Worker Pay

AFSCME Council 5 members have been on the frontlines in our workplaces during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, risking infection of not only themselves, but of their loved ones. But they did what AFSCME members do best -We do our jobs with excellence on behalf of all Minnesotans. We were also on the frontlines in the halls of power, delivering upon one of our major legislative agenda items to provide Frontline Worker Pay to as many of our heroes as possible. Our members' activism delivered incredible results. On April 29, 2022, Governor Tim Walz signed the Frontline Worker Pay agreement into law that includes $500 million in hero pay checks to qualifying frontline workers. Our union will continue to fight for more!

Applications are now closed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligible Frontline Worker Sectors

  • 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
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Click here for additional descriptions of each workplace sector.

If I am an eligible worker, what other requirements are there to receive this check? You must have:

  • Worked for at least 120 hours (in MN) between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • Not been able to telework due to the nature of the work (at least 120 hours of non-telework would meet eligibility requirements for workers who had to perform some duties in-person) and worked in close proximity to individuals outside of their home.
  • Met income requirements for either tax year 2020 or 2021:
    • Workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities:
      • Must have income of $350,000 or less for married taxpayer filing joint;
      • Must have income of $175,000 or less for single filers and all other filers
        • What does "direct COVID-19 patient care" exactly mean?
          • An employee had direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities if they, as part of their assigned job duties, were responsible for providing direct care to a patient, resident or individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • All others (not with direct COVID patient care):
      • Must have income of $185,000 or less for married taxpayers filing a joint return;
      • Must have income of $85,000 or less for single filers and other filers.
  • Not received any unemployment insurance benefit payments for more than 20 cumulative weeks for the weeks between March 15, 2020 - June 26, 2021.

Will I automatically receive this benefit? When can I apply?

NO. You NEED TO apply with the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI). DOLI has set an online application window open on June 8, 2022. You will then have up to 45 days to submit your application for Frontline Worker Pay, with July 22, 2022 being the deadline (subject to potential changes).

What information will I need to provide in order to apply?

You will need the following information to prove you meet all eligibility requirements in order to apply for frontline worker pay:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Employer Name (for period from which you are applying for payments).*
  • Employer Address*
  • Employer Phone Number*
  • Employer Email Address*
  • Date of Birth
* indicates that members should use their HR Rep/Manager information for better specificity in the application process. Your employer may choose to contact eligible workers with a different process. If so, please follow their specific process of who to use as the employer's contact.

The information above will help the MN Department of Labor (DLI) compile a knowledge -based authentification question. If DLI cannot generate a question for an applicant, the applicant may need to provide a scanned copy of one of the following:

  • Passport
  • ID Card
  • Driver's License
  • Residence Permit

Applicants choosing to receive their payments via Direct Deposit will need to provide their bank routing number and account number.

Will this benefit be taxed?

State income taxes will NOT be withheld from the payment. This was a priority of our union. However, the federal government will consider it taxable income.

How much will I receive if I am eligible?

If every anticipated eligible worker applies (660,000), then each person will receive roughly $750. The amount may go up if fewer workers apply, but will not exceed $1,500.

When will checks be processed and sent?

After processing and verification of the applications, as well as the 15-day period for denied applicants to contest those decisions, the final list of eligible applicants will be determined. Each eligible applicant will be provided with an equal payment, not to exceed $1,500. All applications will move through the process at the same time and payments will be forwarded for processing together. You WILL NOT receive a check unless you apply and are approved.

How has our union worked on this legislation?

For more than two years, this legislation was one of our top priorities. More than one dozen members of our union testified in support of frontline worker pay and we fought for and we will continue to fight to secure more for our frontline worker heroes. We stood strong for $1,500 checks (at least) for our frontline worker heroes; however, the State Senate undeniably refused to increase their proposal to this amount and, in fact, wanted to leave hundreds of thousands of frontline workers in the cold and receive $0. Our union will stand strong in our fight for more to honor our frontline workers because the work of these heroes is priceless. We called on members to take action -and you did! Thousands of emails and phoen calls were made to lawmakers and we held multiple press conferences, rallies, and so much more to fight for this leislation. This is the largest and most expansive list of elibible workers included in a hero pay package passed by any state in America. 

What if I am not specifically listed as a worker in one of the above categories, can I apply? Is there an appeals process if I am denied?

We encourage all potentially eligible workers to apply even if they are not specifically listed in the above categories, but may meet the other eligibility criteria. Those whose applications are denied by the Department of Labor and Industry may appeal the decision within 15 days of notice of denial and may provide supplemental information pertaining to potential eligibility. The Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry's decision on an appeal is final.

Am I still eligible even if I left my job?

Yes. If you worked at least 120 hours in a qualifying job between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021, but have since resigned, been terminated, or otherwise left employment, you still may be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay and should apply if you meet the criteria.

Do I have to live in Minnesota to get Frontline Worker Pay?

No. Minnesota residency is not a criteria in the law. However, you must have been employed for at least 120 hours in Minnesota and meet all other criteria contained in the law to receive payment.


Click here to read Council 5 Executive Director Julie Bleyhl's statement on the passage of this legislation and our next steps.