The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an economic and social impact on our society not seen in nearly a century. This crisis is demonstrating something we have known all along; that workers are the glue that hold our state and nation together.
While the Minnesota AFL-CIO office is closed, we continue our mission as advocates for the Minnesota Labor Movement’s collective priorities. The officers and staff are working remotely for as long as needed. If you need to contact the officers or any member of our staff, our contact information is available here. All meetings that were scheduled to be held at our office have been rescheduled to occur via teleconference or postponed.
We will continue to update this page with the latest information and resources for working Minnesotans. If you have questions, please contact your union or a member of our staff.
If you are a union member experiencing a financial or similar emergency, please contact the AFL-CIO Community Services organization nearest to you to be connected with assistance. They have also provided a guide for emergency resources.
You have the right to refuse to work under conditions that you, in good faith, reasonably believe present an imminent danger of death or serious physical harm to you, including a reasonable belief that you have been assigned to work in an unsafe or unhealthful manner with an infectious agent.
Your employer may not fire you or otherwise discriminate against you for your good faith refusal to perform assigned tasks if you have asked them to correct the hazardous conditions, but they remain uncorrected. If Minnesota OSHA Compliance determines you would have been placed in imminent danger of death or serious physical harm by performing the work, then you are entitled to receive pay for the work you would have performed.
Your employer may not retaliate against you for reporting health and safety concerns at work. If you believe your employer retaliated against you, you may file a complaint with Minnesota OSHA Compliance within 30 days.
Contact Minnesota OSHA Compliance at [email protected], 651-284-5050 or 877-470-6742 with questions.
If you have a disability that affects your risk for contracting COVID-19 or being harmed if you do contract the virus, you have the right to request a reasonable accommodation from your employer. For example, employees with disabilities that put them at high-risk for complications related to COVID-19 may request telework or paid/sick/unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation to reduce their chances of infection during a pandemic. If you voluntarily disclose to your employer that you have a medical condition or a disability that places you at higher risk of COVID-19 complications, the employer must keep this information confidential.
Under Minnesota law, if your employer allows you to take time off for your own illness, your employer must also allow you to take time off to care for an ill minor child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or stepparent. Your employer must allow you to use your sick time in the same manner as the employer would allow you to use the leave for yourself. Under current law, this provision may not apply to all employees and all employers.
Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) at 651-284-5075, 800-342-5354 or [email protected] with questions.
The cities of Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul have sick and safe time ordinances that require employers to offer paid time off when employees are sick:
- Duluth sick and safe time leave;
- Minneapolis sick and safe time leave;
- St. Paul sick and safe time leave.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Under the federal FMLA, covered employers must provide employees job-protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons, which may include COVID-19 where complications arise. Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms as existed before they took FMLA leave.
Call the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, at 866-487-9243 with questions or see U.S. DOL’s COVID-19 FMLA guidance.
Minnesota State Employees
State employees who are not able to work for reasons related to COVID-19 are eligible for paid leave. The waiting period for insurance coverage for new employees has been suspended. Here is a COVID info page for state employees.
Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
The FFCRA requires certain employers to provide employees with expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers and to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Generally, the FFCRA provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $511 a day and $5,110 in the aggregate), where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to federal, state or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $200 a day and $2,000 in the aggregate), where the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to federal, state or local government order or advice of a health care provider) or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19; and
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $200 a day and $12,000 in the aggregate), where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
Call the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, at 866-487-9243 with questions. Here is their FAQ.
If you contract a disease that arises out of and in the course of your employment, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including payment for wage loss and medical benefits. However, you must show you contracted the disease due to your employment.
Call the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) at 800-342-5354 (press 3) if you have a question about whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Unemployment Insurance (UI)
If you have experienced loss of employment or reduction of hours due to COVID-19, including being quarantined, told not to come into work, or are impacted by school and childcare closures, or are caring for someone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you may be eligible for UI. The one-week waiting period has been waived for all applicants. Recent federal legislation adds $600 per week to the state benefit, adds 13 weeks of additional benefits, and includes benefits for workers traditionally ineligible for UI, including self-employed, independent contractors, part-time, and gig workers.
If your employment ends and your former employer has not paid you your final wages, there are several steps you can take to ensure you are paid all the wages you are due.
To learn what steps you can take to receive your final wages, visit DLI's making a demand for final wages webpage.
The IRS expects to start sending an initial wave of economic stimulus payments, up to $1,200 per person, to some 60 million Americans who have direct deposit information on file with the agency the week of April 13. If you don't have direct deposit information on file with the IRS, it could take up to five months for a paper check to arrive. Learn more from the IRS.
In Minnesota, landlords and financial institutions cannot begin eviction proceedings that would remove tenants from stable housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you or someone you know has been wrongfully evicted, you can contact the Attorney General's Office here or at (951) 296-3353.
Under the Governor’s Executive Order 20-20 (Directing Minnesotans to Stay Home), workers providing critical services are exempt and able “to travel to and from an individual’s place of work and an individual’s performance of work duties, including transportation to and from child care or school settings as necessary to ensure the safe care of children”.
In addition, under the Governor’s Executive Order 20-19 (Distance Learning Period), school districts are “to provide care, at a minimum, to district enrolled students age 12 and under who are eligible children”.
The care for children of these workers is intended for extreme circumstances in which no parent or guardian is available to care for a child due to employment as a critical worker.
To find available child care providers open and able to serve critical workers, including many willing to serve school-age children, visit https://mn.gov/childcare/ or call 1.888.291.9811.
Please note that many, though not all, critical sector areas in the Governor’s Executive Order 20-20 refer directly to the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) guidelines. For questions regarding definitions of the critical worker areas, please review these guidelines, Executive Order 20-20, and http://mn.gov/deed/critical.
Governor Walz and MNsure announced a 30-day special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance. The SEP opened on March 23 and runs through April 21. It will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through https://www.mnsure.org
Federal legislation requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccine and makes all coronavirus tests free.
Minnesotans filing their annual Minnesota Individual Income Tax return for 2019 have until Wednesday, July 15, 2020, to file and make payments without any penalties or interest.
DEED has established a small business emergency loan program to assist small businesses directly and adversely affected and whose industry is named in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apply for food stamps or SNAP here.
Is now illegal in Minnesota. If you see price gouging, file a complaint with the AG here.