‘A Slap In The Face’: Self-Employed Minnesotans, Including At-Home Child Care Providers, Excluded from Hero Pay

9 June 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – While more than 250,000 Minnesotans had applied for Frontline “Hero” Pay by Thursday evening, thousands more say their self-employed status means they’re not eligible for payment despite working through the pandemic.

“It’s kind of a stab in the back, I guess,” said Julie Seydel, who operates an at-home childcare service from her home in Andover. “We’ve been asked to do things when they need us, and then we’re kind of forgotten about when it comes time to say ‘thank you.’”

Seydel, who also serves as the public policy director for the Minnesota Association of Childcare Professionals, says it’s not about the money but rather what it represents.

“It’s the fact that we were asked to do something, this [frontline pay] is being touted to the public as saying ‘thank you’ for those people that put their lives at risk, [people who] did what they needed to do to keep the economy flowing, to keep people healthy, and we’re entirely left out.”

“All the conversations were that this was going to include family childcare. Licensed family childcare,” said Cyndi Cunningham, who has operated an at-home childcare operation from her St. Paul home for 26 years. “So when the bill was written and all past, it looked like we were there, because it says ‘childcare.’”

Cunningham serves as the Board Director for the Minnesota Childcare Provider Information Network. She says the organization had worked to make sure the estimated 8,000-9,000 home childcare providers would qualify for hero pay — but language within the program ended up excluding them.

“If you’re going to ask us to stay open, put everything on the line, be essential and then us be excluded from something that we’re supposed to be included in, that is a failure on the legislative process,” Cunningham said. “It’s kind of a slap in the face.”

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