Employees and Coronavirus

Information on COVID-19 for employers and employees

Employee health

Implement a screening program for COVID-19 symptoms

You should screen all employees before letting them enter your business. The following questions can be used to screen for COVID-19:

  • Have you had close contact with someone who was diagnosed or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
    • Close contact means: A person has been within 6 feet of a case or suspected case of COVID-19 for over 10 minutes. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, or visiting a COVID-19 case OR if a person has direct contact with body fluids of a COVID-19 case or suspected case from being coughed on, been intimate with, etc.
  • Have you had a fever of 100.4°F or higher, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, or a new or increased cough in the last seven days?

If the employee answers YES to either question, they should not be at work and should stay home.

Employees with lab-confirmed COVID-19

An employee with a positive test for COVID-19 will get a call from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). MDH will provide them with next steps and help them identify other people that may have been exposed.

If MDH identifies that coworkers and others may have been exposed in the workplace, they will work with the Minneapolis Health Department, the impacted employees, and the employer to make sure everyone has information on what to do.

Employees with fever, cough, or shortness of breath, but no confirmed test

If an employee develops symptoms consistent with a respiratory infection - fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache - the employee should do the following:

  • Stay home and do not report to work, or go home immediately if the employee is at work.
  • Isolate in the home as much as possible.
    • Sleep separately.
    • Don’t spend time in common rooms.
    • Don’t share dishes, glasses, silverware, commonly used household items.
    • Keep away from pets (if you have them).

If the employer thinks that the employee may have exposed coworkers and others in the workplace, they should call the Minneapolis Health Department to discuss what to do.

Employee return to work guidelines

  • If the employee has symptoms consistent with a respiratory infection - fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache – the employee will need to stay home until:
    • Symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath have improved, AND
    • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared, AND
    • Fever (100.4°F or higher) has been gone for at least three days without the use of fever-reducing medications (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin).

For example, if the employee has a fever and coughing for four days, the employee needs to stay home three more days with no fever, and no use of medication for a total of seven days. Or, if the employee has a fever and coughing for five days, the employee needs to stay home three more days with no fever for a total of eight days.


Employee sick leave

Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time

Under the City’s Ssick and Safe Time ordinance, employers with six or more workers are required to provide time off at a minimum threshold of at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers with five or fewer workers must also provide sick time, but it may be unpaid.
An employee's accrued sick and safe time hours are legally protected for their use due to coronavirus symptoms, testing or infection, both for the employee and for the employee to care for a covered family member, including for:

  • Coronavirus screening
  • Care or quarantine due to coronavirus symptoms or infection
  • Testing or quarantine following close personal contact with a coronavirus infected or symptomatic person
  • Covered family members' school or place-of-care closure due to coronavirus
  • Workplace closure by order of a public official due to coronavirus

For more details on how sick and safe time can be used during the coronavirus outbreak, read the frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and the sick and safe time ordinance on sicktimeinfo.minneapolismn.gov

Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which took effect April 1, 2020, includes Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Leave for all private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Employees are eligible for up to two weeks (or 10 days) of paid sick leave, subject to an 80-hour cap for full-time employees.

  • This leave will be reimbursed in full through an immediate offset against payroll taxes.
  • This paid sick leave is in addition to any accrued sick leave under Minneapolis’ Sick & Safe Time ordinance and employees can use this federal emergency paid sick leave before using accrued sick and safe time.

View fact sheets and questions & answers from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Safety requirements in the workplace during COVID-19

Unemployment insurance


Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits provide a temporary partial wage replacement to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. If you have become unemployed or had your hours greatly reduced, complete the Application Process and UI staff will determine whether or not you are eligible and notify you.

Visit the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program website for more information

Employers and agents

Unemployment Insurance provides benefits to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. The benefits are funded through a tax paid by employers. 

Employers: If you have employees covered by the Minnesota UI law, you must register for an employer account. 

Agents: An "agent" is an entity that acts on behalf of an employer (the agent's client) to handle the employer's Unemployment Insurance obligations.

How to apply

You are strongly encouraged to apply for unemployment online. The online system is available Sunday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Additional Resources

Adult employment resources

Youth employment resources

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid: Find updates on court cases and advice for people with questions about housing, safety, health, unemployment benefits, etc. during this time. 

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

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