Local in-home childcare workers demand frontline worker pay

(ABC 6 News) – After nearly two years, a bill allowing bonus pay for frontline employees who worked during the pandemic was signed into law.

However, not everyone is eligible to receive compensation, and those who are not are expressing frustration.

People like independent or in-home childcare providers are not eligible to receive extra pay, even though they were also encouraged to stay open during the pandemic by Governor Tim Walz, just like other daycare providers.

“We invited it into our house,” Barb Kyllo, a childcare provider for 28 years, said. “All of my parents continued working through the pandemic. Most of my parents are in fields where they are providing direct care to other people. And I provided direct care for their children while they did that.”

The new bill defines those eligible for the bonus pay as an ’employee’ and in-home care providers are technically classified as an ’employer’. This means therefore, they get no benefits from the bill.

“We were very essential along with so many others,” Cyndi Cunningham, a member of the Minnesota Childcare Provider Information Network, said. “We need to be looked at as employees of ourselves, which is a complicated definition evidently.”

Advocates for childcare workers urge in-home providers to write to their legislators and push for a special session so that an amendment can be made to the bill allowing them to be included in the pay.