ACA Advocacy in Action: Minnesota Governor Signs Work-From-Home Bill

Michael Klutho, GLCCA past president and shareholder for Bassford Remele, testifies in support of the Minnesota work-from-home legislation.

The legislation enacts permanent remote work options for collection agencies in Minnesota effective June 1, thanks to advocacy efforts by the Great Lakes Credit and Collection Association.

05/23/2022 12:30 P.M.

5 minute read

Key Takeaways

  • The new law permits employees of collection agencies to continue working from home as it was established in the beginning of the pandemic.
  • This will ensure that collection agency staff will continue to have the flexibility afforded them through the current work-from-home statute.
  • Minnesota’s Department of Commerce invited the GLCCA to weigh in on the DOC’s plan to bring debt buyers under its licensing statute and jurisdiction.

Debt collectors licensed in Minnesota now have permanent remote work options after Gov. Tim Walz signed SF 2922 Sunday.

SF 2922 permits employees of collection agencies to continue working from home as it was established in the beginning of the pandemic.

Minnesota’s House of Representatives passed the bill on a near unanimous vote last week and the Senate accepted the amended version, sending it to the governor’s desk, ACA International previously reported.

“This will ensure that collection agency staff will continue to have the flexibility
afforded them through the current work-from-home statute,” said Michael Klutho, a shareholder at Bassford Remele and past president of the GLCCA, who led advocacy efforts on the bill.

The GLCCA has led successful advocacy efforts on the bill in the last two years after temporary work-from-home measures were enacted for debt collectors during the pandemic.

“This achievement did not come easily. It did not happen by accident,” Klutho said. “In 2019, the Minnesota Legislative Unit (under the auspices of the GLCCA) devised a plan to undertake proactive lobbying efforts to achieve reasonable regulations, including a change that would allow collection professionals to remotely perform their jobs.”

Minnesota’s Department of Commerce (DOC) invited the GLCCA to weigh in on the DOC’s plan to bring debt buyers under its licensing statute and jurisdiction.

The GLCCA saw this as an opportunity to help craft some additional industry-helpful amendments related to remote work, ACA previously reported.

Klutho also sent a letter to the Minnesota legislature advocating for the bill’s passage and outlining its impact on the industry.

“Over the past two years, countless Minnesotans have worked from home throughout the COVID pandemic, including third-party collection professionals,” Klutho said in the letter. “During this time, collection professionals have demonstrated they are able to perform their duties remotely in a safe and compliant manner under the oversight of their employers—licensed third-party collection agencies—and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.”

The governor’s approval of the bill will allow the temporary work-from-home operations to continue effective June 1, 2022. A law from Minnesota’s 2021 session to allow licensed collectors to work from home, which started as a waiver from DOC during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency, is in effect through May 31, 2022, ACA previously reported.

The GLCCA legislative team worked with the governor’s office for the bill to be signed before the current statute ended.

Here is a look at the requirements in the final bill:

  • Each collection agency license shall plainly state the name and business address of the licensee, and shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the office where the business is transacted. The fee for each collection agency license is $500, and renewal is $400. The fee for each collector registration and renewal is $10, which entitles the individual collector to work at a licensee’s business location or in another location as provided under subdivision 5b, which states, “An employee of a licensed collection agency may work from a location other than the licensee’s business location if the licensee and employee comply with all requirements under this section that would apply if the employee were working at the business location.”
  • An additional branch license is not required for a location used under subdivision 5b. A collection agency licensee who desires to carry on business in more than one place shall procure a license for each place where the business is to be conducted.
  • Starting July 1, the Minnesota Department of Commerce will develop a list of not-for-profit credit counseling companies based in Minnesota. Once that list is developed by the department, it will be disseminated to collection agencies. Agencies will then have until Sept. 1, 2023, to begin sending out the department-developed form listing not-for-profit credit counseling companies. After Sept. 1, 2023, the form must be included with the initial written notice of a debt sent to a consumer whether that notice is sent by regular mail, email or text message. The department cannot make any updates to the list of credit counseling companies before Sept. 1, 2024.

“To say that there have been highs and lows throughout all of this would be an understatement—but we never gave up,” Klutho said. “Now registered collectors throughout the U.S. collecting from Minnesota consumers have the flexibility of doing so from their homes. The GLCCA sought reasonable regulation from the state and thankfully we now we have it. With the bill taking effect June 1, collection agencies can continue offering their employees the option to work in their physical office, in their homes under secure conditions, or under a hybrid structure—whatever best fits their business and employee needs.”

Compliance Resources

ACA’s compliance team recently updated the ACA SearchPoint document on remote work

Members may view ACA SearchPoint #1301, Remote Work, for more information. ACA SearchPoint is a complete library of compliance resources covering topics important to running your business. Members can locate ACA SearchPoint documents by keyword(s) or document number using the search bar.

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