Skip to main content

The DFL and GOP in the Minnesota Legislature have reached a tentative agreement to end the wrangle over replenishing the state's unemployment insurance trust fund while providing bonus checks to COVID-19 frontline workers.

Both parties for months had been in agreement that the unemployment insurance fund, which felt into $1.3 billion deficit during the pandemic, needed to be replenished, with first the GOP-led Senate and eventually the DFL-led House approving $2.7 billion of funding ahead of the April 30 1st quarter tax deadline.

But there remained disagreement over how much should be dedicated to so-called "hero pay" for Minnesota's pandemic frontline workers.

Senate Republicans wanted to handle the two issues separately and passed a standalone $2.7 billion unemployment insurance bill in February. DFLers however linked hero pay with unemployment insurance in the House bill passed earlier this week, meaning negotiations had to continue.

The GOP had wanted to spend $250 million to provide $1,200 checks to around 200,000 workers including nurses, long-term care workers, hospice staff, first responders, and corrections officers.

The DFL however wanted to spend $1 billion to provide payments of up to $1,500 for a larger pool of 667,000 frontline workers, which would include all those mentioned in the Senate GOP's plan, plus meatpacking plant workers, grocery workers, janitorial staff, and daycare workers.

The tentative agreement reached Thursday, if approved in both House and Senate, includes $2.7 billion for the UI fund and will see $500 million spent on hero pay, with checks of $750 going to the 667,000 workers in the House DFL plan.

The agreement struck between the GOP and DFL was revealed during a MinnPost public discussion, and will also see another $190 million in federal COVID-19 funding appropriated for use by Gov. Tim Walz for COVID-19 purposes.

Businesses that received payroll tax bills that reflected the increased UI rates prior to the deal being struck will get a refund on the difference if they've already paid them. Many have held off on paying however, assuming that a deal would be reached by the deadline.

Not included in the agreement is a House DFL plan that would allow hourly school workers to claim unemployment insurance during school breaks. This DFL intends to pursue this separately.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.04.40 PM

Ramen bar announced for upcoming Eat Street Crossing food hall

The restaurant roster is filling up at Eat Street Crossing.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man dies after being shot during argument in Minneapolis

It's the 70th homicide in Minneapolis this year.


Minneapolis police, city employees clear out Near North encampment

This comes as colder weather moves through the state.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.32.46 PM

New T.J. Maxx to open in the Twin Cities this month

Opening day will kick off with extended hours.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 3.04.24 PM

Former Hennepin County commissioner arrested for DWI

The 61-year-old was being held in Hennepin County Jail as of Thursday morning.

Evie Carshare

Electric carshare network showing growth in Twin Cities

Over 25,000 trips have been logged in a six-month span.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 1.11.01 PM

Popular Apple Valley ice arena could be replaced

A concept plan to transform the ice arena is being considered.


Low river levels bring cancellations for St. Paul-New Orleans Viking cruises

The low water also impacted some barge traffic making its way down the river.

10.6 Tempest Weather Thumbnail

Drought tightens grip as Twin Cities reaches 'extreme' level

By this time last year, drought was fading fast in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 11.23.49 AM

Woman missing since car crash has been found

The 49-year-old is believed to have been driving when the crash happened.


US Navy Flickr - COVID hospital PPE nurse

Frontline worker payments: Over a million Minnesotans to get $487.45

Gov. Tim Walz says the payments will start going out on Wednesday.

pexels bar face mask covid

Minnesota frontline workers can now apply for 'hero pay'

State legislators estimate around 667,000 Minnesotans will be eligible for the frontline worker pay.

state capitol Minnesota

MN Legislature yet to reach deal on unemployment insurance

Talks have broken down, with both sides blaming each other.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz: Nearly 1M Minnesotans have applied for frontline worker pay

The governor noted that the checks could be smaller depending on the number of people who apply.

State Capitol.

Legislature passes support package for COVID-hit businesses, workers

The deal will help businesses shut down during Gov. Tim Walz's four-week "pause."

Governor Tim Walz

Walz, DFL, GOP reach agreement on state surplus spending

The framework deal includes spending on education, health care, human services and public safety, as well as tax cuts.

Target announces pay rise for workers, will also pay out early bonuses

Target is following the lead of Cub and Kowalski's in rewarding its staff during the coronavirus crisis.