Living assisted workers line up to receive one-time pandemic work bonus
Minnesota created a $500 million fund to give one-time bonuses to frontline workers, including the self-employed, to stay on the job during the pandemic.
Governor Tim Walz signed the bill into law on Friday. Eligible workers — including assisted living, home care and other frontline workers — employed between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021 can each claim a maximum bonus of $1,500.
About 667,000 frontline workers are eligible to receive payment. The law also provides $2.7 billion to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund, preventing a tax hike on small businesses.
“Frontline worker bonuses are a long-awaited ‘thank you’ to caregivers for their sacrifices in the midst of the pandemic, but we need to focus on the problem we face today: there are 23,000 open caregivers across the state, and once bonuses will do next to nothing to recruit and retain the workforce we need to care for Minnesota’s one million seniors,” said the president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota executive Patti Cullen. McKnight Seniors Residence. “Until we are able to pay career wages, thousands of older people risk losing access to the care they need.”
Care Providers of Minnesota is the state affiliate of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.
Kari Thurlow, president and CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota, shared a similar sentiment with McKnight Senior Residencesaying lawmakers must now turn their attention to the industry’s “significant” staffing crisis.
“The state plays a major role in setting prices for aging services, but it’s not enough to cover the cost of care,” Thurlow said. “Without investments in the Elderly Waiver, a program to help low-income older people receive care in assisted living facilities and other home and community settings, thousands of older people risk losing their access to the care they need in the communities they call. residence.”
For bonus payments, the state is working on an online application system through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry that will give eligible workers 45 days to apply.
Workers in the following sectors are eligible to apply for the premiums – long-term care and home care, healthcare, emergency responders, public health, courts and corrections, childcare, schools, catering, retail , temporary shelters and hotels, construction services , mass transit, ground and air transportation services, manufacturing and vocational rehabilitation.
The Minnesota Senate recently passed a comprehensive health and human services reform bill to address the state’s long-term care workforce crisis. The legislation includes a $1 billion surplus priority to raise rates for the long-term care, personal care and disability rate waiver service industries. This amount comes on top of the $322 million bailout package introduced earlier this year to address staffing shortages at these facilities.