‘We really need the labor’: NC Republicans move forward with bonuses for coming off unemployment

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Senate passed a bill that allows a bonus for people coming off unemployment and entering the workforce.

As businesses open their doors again, “now hiring” signs are coming with it.

“They simply can’t find workers to fill the job openings,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-13).

Republican state lawmakers pushed for the bill to incentivize people to go back to work.

“I believe this bill is good for the economy, it’s good for the employers, and it’s good for the workforce, too,” said Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-46).

It would offer people receiving unemployment benefits up to $1,500 to take a job and keep it. The funds would come from recent stimulus money that Republicans say is keeping people at home.

“We’ve created a habit now for 14 months that many people can simply get by,” Edwards said. “Let’s face it — it is easier to not work than it is to work.”

There are concerns the federal government won’t allow the stimulus money to be used. Even if the House approves the bill next, it will still require an act by Congress.

“I would say when you see the different states removing mask mandates, things are starting to open up, restaurants are at full capacity. I would say now we really need the labor more than ever,” Budd said.

Democrats suggested using money from existing state funds to reboot the job market while keeping the stimulus funds in action. They also want to see more done to raise wages and address child care concerns.

“This approach doesn’t get to the root of the problem what we’re trying to do. It really is just a very temporary solution,” said Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-16). “Nothing about this bill addresses the fact employers need to offer a living wage.”

The bill will now head to the House for concurrence.

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