AARP Eye Center
AARP is excited to announce that a compromise has been reached on hero pay for frontline workers, and the Governor signed it into law on May 3, 2022.
The compromise recognizes essential workers' dedication and hard work during the pandemic's peak. Many nursing home workers and assisted living staff continued to show up to their jobs even as their workplaces became the epicenters of infections, putting their lives on the line and putting their own families at risk.
“It was long overdue,” according to Mary Jo George, Associate State Director of Advocacy. “Since the last session, we pushed for hero pay when lawmakers agreed to appropriate $250 million for bonus pay for frontline workers.”
AARP Minnesota is now urging lawmakers to go beyond hero pay. The state faces a severe worker shortage in long-term care, which threatens the health and safety of vulnerable seniors. Hero pay is not enough.
“We need lawmakers to finish their work on time and provide the pay raises and benefits needed to recruit and retain new workers in long-term care,” said George. “There are only three weeks left of the session, which is scheduled to adjourn on May 23. We don’t want them to leave St. Paul without finishing their business.”
Who is Eligible for Hero Pay?
The final agreement included $500 million for hero pay. It’s estimated that 667,000 workers on the front line can expect a $750 bonus for their work during the pandemic.
To be eligible, employees would have had to work 120 hours between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021, and have not received unemployment benefits for more than 20 weeks.
The state will require workers to apply and offer proof of their hours worked. The portal is expected to be open in 3-4 weeks, and checks will be available in 10-12 weeks. In the meantime, workers can sign up for news about the process at frontlinepay.mn.gov.
There is an income cap of $85k for individuals who did not work directly with COVID-19 patients, and those who did work with patients could receive checks if they earned up to $175,000.