On Friday, Governor Walz signed the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Frontline Worker bill into law. Replenishing the UI Trust Fund at $2.73 billion will ensure UI benefits are available to workers in the future and that businesses across the state are held harmless from the effects of the pandemic.
About 130,000 businesses will receive UI tax relief with the passing of this bill — with the total amount of relief provided to businesses coming totaling around $200 million for the first quarter of 2022. Today, Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove joined Governor Tim Walz, legislators, and small business owners at an event at the State Capitol to celebrate passing the bill into law.
“Minnesota businesses, especially small businesses and their workers, were deeply impacted by COVID-19,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “This investment means we won’t have to raise future UI tax rates right at this critical moment of expansion for Minnesota’s economy. Avoiding higher tax payments means more money for business owners to put toward salaries, benefits and capital expenses.”
DEED will now begin calculating revisions to the amounts that over 130,000 employers owe in UI taxes.
This law also provides $500 million for Frontline Worker Pay, which will provide bonus pay to frontline workers who have sacrificed during the pandemic to keep Minnesotans safe, healthy, fed, and cared for. Eligible workers include those from the health care, child care, school, food service, public transit, long-term care, building service, emergency response, retail, and manufacturing sectors.
Currently, the UI Trust Fund owes approximately $1.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury Department. This one-time investment of $2.73 billion will allow the State of Minnesota to repay its negative balance to the U.S. Treasury Department and bring the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to a balance of positive $1.3 billion. In the days and weeks ahead, the UI program will recalculate employer taxes due and provide information on tax account credits.