Minnesota Emergency Executive Order Expands Unemployment Compensation In The Wake Of COVID-19

Minnesota Emergency Executive Order Expands Unemployment Compensation in the Wake of COVID-19

Governor Walz issued an Executive Order providing that strict compliance with Minnesota’s unemployment laws be suspended and the availability of unemployment benefits be expanded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Order expands the universe of eligible employees to include persons who have temporarily or permanently lost their jobs, or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19. An applicant is eligible for unemployment if:

1. A determination has been made by health authorities or by a health care professional that the presence of the applicant in the workplace would jeopardize the health of others, whether or not the applicant has actually contracted a communicable disease;

2. The applicant is subject to a quarantine or isolation order;

3. A health care provider recommends the applicant should self-isolate or self-quarantine due to elevated risk from COVID-19 due to being immunocompromised;

4. The employer instructs the applicant not to go to work due to COVID-19;

5. The applicant has been notified by a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that classes are cancelled or childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant has made a reasonable effort to obtain childcare and required time off or accommodation, and no reasonable accommodation was made available.

Moreover, the normal requirement that unemployment applicants wait a week in order to be eligible for benefits has been waived, and employees who are only temporarily out of work will not be required to search for new employment. Instead, they will be allowed to meet the statutory search-for-work requirement by simply staying in regular contact with their employer regarding when work will resume. The Order provides that COVID-19 related unemployment claims will not be used in calculating the employer’s unemployment tax rate and waives the five-week benefit limitation for business owners.

Do you have a legal question regarding COVID-19 or any employment related matter? Give Parker Daniels Kibort a call at 612.355.4100.