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ACA International, Inc. reported that debt collectors licensed in Minnesota now have permanent remote work options after Governor Tim Walz signed SF 2922 Sunday, May 22, 2022.
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 Great Lakes Credit and Collection Association (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:
“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.”
For additional information on this topic, please contact Michael Klutho.
Michael Klutho has more than 30 years of experience defending clients and helping them prevent consumer law, professional liability, and products liability disputes. He represents creditors, financial institutions, collection agencies, attorneys, hospitals, and other businesses facing state and federal consumer-protection statutory lawsuits, defending thousands of consumer-related lawsuits during the course of his career. He also defends clients against claims brought by governmental regulators overseeing entities involved in the credit and collection industry. Michael serves on the Board of Directors for ACA International, Inc. and is a past President of the Great Lakes Credit and Collection Association.
Bassford Remele proudly serves as local and national counsel for many major corporations and Fortune 500 Companies and is a go-to litigation firm representing local, national, and international clients in state and federal courts across the region.
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