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Minnesota Legislature

New Law: Unemployment insurance changes

Published (7/15/2011)
By Nick Busse
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Effective July 1, 2011, the definition of “immediate family member” under Minnesota unemployment insurance law will include grandparents.

It’s one of several changes made under a new law that makes technical and housekeeping changes to the state’s unemployment insurance statutes. Unless otherwise noted, its provisions take effect Aug. 1, 2011. Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) and Sen. John Pederson (R-St. Cloud) are the sponsors.

Among the more significant provisions, the law changes the definition of “suitable employment” with regard to temporary staffing services. The definition is used to determine who may collect unemployment insurance benefits. “Suitable employment” will now include jobs with temporary staffing services for those whose wage credits are at least 25 percent from temporary staffing jobs. The threshold under current law is

45 percent. The effect will be to make it harder for those receiving benefits to reject job offers from temporary staffing agencies and still receive benefits.

The law removes a minimum 2 percent special assessment on employers’ payroll taxes that goes to pay down interest on federal unemployment insurance loans. The effect will be to give the Department of Employment and Economic Development discretion to set the assessment at anywhere from 0 percent to 8 percent, as needs dictate.

The minimum requirements to establish a benefit account are modified so that an applicant’s wage credits must be at least $2,400 or roughly 5.3 percent of the state’s average annual wage in the preceding one-year base period. The change will affect benefit applications on or after Oct. 29, 2012. Additionally, the requirements to establish a new benefit account after the expiration of a benefit year on a previous account are changed to conform to these new requirements. This part takes effect May 26, 2011.

Another change will provide that personal time off and sick pay are treated the same as vacation pay for purposes of delaying payment of unemployment insurance benefits.

HF1396/ SF1130*/CH84

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