Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued a series of emergency executive orders (8 as of the date of this post) relating to COVID-19 that impact Minnesota employers. One very important to Minnesota employers is Emergency Executive Order 20-05Providing Immediate Relief to Employers and Unemployed Workers During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency

Effectively March 16, 2020, the executive order suspends “strict compliance” with the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Law until December 31, 2020.

  • Applicants are eligible for unemployment benefits if:
    • 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;
    •  A quarantine or isolation order has been issued to the applicant;
    • There is a recommendation from health authorities or by a health care professional that the applicant should self-isolate or self-quarantine due to elevated risk from COVID-19 due to being immunocompromised;
    • The applicant has been instructed by their employer not to come to the employer’s place of business due to an outbreak of a communicable disease; or
    • The applicant has received a notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation was available.
  • The unpaid waiting week is suspended (it will be paid “as quickly as possible).
  • Recipients of unemployment do not need to actively seek suitable employment that puts their health or safety at risk, or that of others.  Workers that have been laid off temporarily may meet this requirement by staying in contact with their employer.
  • Unemployment benefits paid as a result of COVID-19 will not be used in computing the future unemployment tax rate of a taxpaying employer.
  • The five-week benefit limitation is waived for business owners.
  • The executive order is in effect during the peacetime emergency declared in Executive Order 20-01.

It should also be noted that due to the large volume, the State is encouraging employees that they can apply “any day this week or even next week and get paid for this week.” More information from Minnesota Unemployment Insurance can be found here.