How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Minnesota?

Minnesota has two methods in determining eligibility for unemployment insurance, but considered whichever method results in the higher amount.

Either a total base period earnings of $2,400 is used or 5.3%  of Minnesota’s Average Annual Wages (AAW) [rounded to the lower $100] is used.

As of May, 2013 the AAW of Minnesota is $47,370

5.3% of this is $2,510.61

Therefore, to qualify for unemployment insurance in Minnesota, your total base period earnings must have been at least $2,500. You also must have worked during at least one quarter of the base period.

Minnesota’s regular base period is different from the majority of other states. The last four completed calendar quarters are used provided that the effective date of the unemployment insurance claim is not during the month before the fourth completed calendar quarter (whereas most states use the first four).

MN offers both an extended base period and an alternate base period. The alternate base period considers the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. The extended base period is available for those who qualify. To qualify, you must have received worker’s compensation [due to being disabled/injured/sick]. If you qualify, then your base period may be extended up to four quarters. The amount your base period can be extended [up to four quarters] depends upon the length of time you spent receiving worker’s compensation.

In Minnesota an employer or employing unit is covered under unemployment insurance if it paid at least $1,500 in wages during any calendar quarter in the current or previous calendar year. Further, an employer/employing unit is also covered under unemployment insurance if it paid wages to at least one employee and employed said worker at least one day per week during the 20 weeks of the current or previous calendar year.


  • b folkerts

    I started a new job this year as a tax preparer I eligible to collect unemployment when the tax season is over

    • Depends on your work history and earnings. You need total earnings in your base period of at least $2,700, or 5.3% of MN’s average weekly wage. Base period will depend on when you file for benefits. MN base periods explained, here:

      • b folkerts

        I started a new job this year as a tax preparer I eligible to collect unemployment when the tax season is over

        I have worked a full time job in minnesota before this for 5 years .. what im concerned about is next year when I dont have that full time job .. how many months or hours will I have to work to qualify for unemployment. Also when on unemployment what happens if I work a part time job part time job

      • b folkerts

        I have worked a full time job in minnesota for 5 years before starting this job my concern is next year when I don’t have the full time job how many months or hours will I have to work to qualify for unemployment also when on unemployment what happens if I work a part time job

  • NSV

    My mom was employed for 19 years and was laid off in June 2016. She finally was approved for unemployment benefits after a month. Now, she said that her unemployment benefits will be denied because the system says she’s maxed out her available benefits. Can someone please explain and elaborate? It doesn’t seem to add up at all. Please and thank you in advance.

  • Jody

    I was fired from my job today. I started on 12/26/16 and today is 3/2/17. Do I qualify for MN, unemployment?

  • Ferrol

    I started working full time 5/2/2016. I suffered a brain aneurysm that hospitalize me over 3 weeks. Four days later, suffered a stroke and back into hospital for 2 more days. I did not have any type of short/long term disability, nor was I there long enough for FMLA. My neurologist will not release me because I am having many problems. I also lost my driving privileges. I got a call from the boss’s wife who wanted to know if I was going to come back and when. Also asked if I would consider resigning. If my employer ends up letting me go because I can not tell them a date of return, would I qualify? My last day I worked was November 28, 2016. Employer also said would be dropped from my health insurance the last day of February.

  • Samuel

    I have worked full time for 2 months. Can i apply for unemployment?

    • Generally two months’ work, without any prior earnings history, won’t provide much of a benefit, if at all. Know that MN will only use earnings through December 31, 2016. Anything earned Jan-Feb. 2017 will be excluded from the base period.

      Further, MN’s benefit calculation is somewhat convoluted. If you want to do the math, MN requires you earn at least $2,700 before 12/31/2016 and that your weekly wage be at least $54, or 5.3% of its average weekly wage of $1,026. The benefit is based on the higher of 50% of 1/52 total base period wages up to 66⅔% of the state average weekly wage of $1,026, or 50% of 1/13 of your high quarter up to 43% of the state’s average weekly wage of $1,026.

      Let MN figure it out.

  • leland miller

    I was fired after 8 months of employment due to medication I was taking that made me extremely tired .and last employer never had to pay unemployment taxes due to being a farmer .also was promised 1dollar raise that ended to be 21cents

  • daesha

    I am 8 months pregnant and want to take time off before it have the baby from being so tired. If have been at my job for 8 months can i apply for unemployment?

    • No. If you take a leave of absence because of disability/pregnancy, unless your state has a disability program such as exist in California and New Jersey, there are no paid benefits available. Per this link, MN does not offer an SDI program, but suggests you talk to your employer.

  • David Thompson

    I just started working in Minnesota 3 weeks ago. If they fire me in the next two weeks. Can I file for unemployment?

  • I have work for five months almost full time in a training program. Was never had a evolution, and the stoped scheduling me, for no reason has been given, am I eligible for unemployment benefits ?

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