Losing a job unexpectedly is devastating


According to the state data, low-wage earners do not make use of the state’s unemployment insurance program. 

The fear of losing housing, food, transportation, and basic necessities can be overwhelming. The Minnesota Unemployment Insurance program is supposed to protect workers from these harms. Through this program, a  full-time minimum wage worker who accesses unemployment insurance (UI) receives about $800-$1,000/month for six months while searching for work. But UI does not protect all workers equally. State program data illustrate that the program heavily and disproportionately serves white males in the construction trades. According to that same data, thousands of Minnesotans who lose work in hotel, restaurant, retail, temp work, and low-wage health care are unable to access unemployment each year and instead turn to Minnesota’s less generous welfare programs. These Minnesotans lose jobs due to illness and emergencies where no sick or personal time is allowed.