NC Senate passes bill that would give $1,500 bonus to unemployed

North Carolina Politics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Senators in North Carolina have approved a bill that would give unemployed North Carolinians $800 or $1,500 as an incentive after securing a new job.

House Bill 128 serves as an act to reemploy the state’s workforce by providing bonuses for accepting reemployment and requiring individuals to respond to employer requests and administrative changes to the unemployment insurance laws.

To dish out the funds, the state would seek approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to use funds appropriated by Congress for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program to provide a “signing bonus” for unemployed claimants who accept reemployment.

The back-to-work bonus would vary and be payable as follows:

  • A $1,500 bonus for accepting reemployment on or before June 1, payable in two installments: 50 percent after 30 days of employment and the remainder after 60 days of employment
  • An $800 bonus for accepting reemployment on or before July 1, payable in two installments: 50 percent after 20 days of employment and the remainder after 60 days of employment
  • No bonus paid for accepting reemployment after September 6, 2021.

Businesses we talked with recently supported the idea.

“I think it’s phenomenal. I think our government for the first time is starting to look after small businesses and I support it wholeheartedly,” said George Miser, owner of Miser Landscaping. “The general consent I get from applicants is that they can make more money on unemployment than holding a full-time job. I’ve been in business 25 years and I’m paying a premium for help right now and still can’t find people.”

“I think people need to understand they can’t live off the government dough forever, they have to get a job at some point and if this would encourage them to come back to work, I think it would be great,” said Parker Kennedy, owner of Cafe Luna. “We’re having difficulty also because we want people that are really good. We don’t want to just hire anyone. We want people who really like the business and enjoy it and are interested in doing the work.”

To be eligible, an individual must meet a set of requirements. An individual who fails to meet one or more of the requirements would be deemed ineligible to receive benefits until the condition causing ineligibility ceases to exist.

The requirements are:

  • Clarify that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits must make three job contacts per
  • week.
  • Require claimants to respond to interview requests by an employer offering suitable work within
  • 48 hours using the contact information provided by the employer.
  • Require claimants to schedule an interview with an employer within seven days of the interview request, or outside of seven days if mutually agreed to by both parties.
  • Require claimants to attend reemployment activities associated with the interview request if those activities are required by an employer in their normal course of recruitment.
  • Permit employers to report to DES that a claimant has not responded to interview requests, refused to schedule an interview within seven days of the interview request, or failed to appear for a scheduled interview. It would require DES to audit those reports submitted by employers.
  • Disqualify a claimant for any remaining unemployment insurance benefit if the claimant fails, absent good cause, to do any of the following three or more times during a benefit year: – Respond to an interview request within 48 hours. – Schedule an interview with an employer within seven days of an interview offer. – Appear for a scheduled interview. – Attend a reemployment activity associated with the interview request.
  • Require DES to audit at least twenty-five percent (25%) of all weekly certifications filed with the Division each week.
  • Require DES to utilize a third-party firm when necessary to satisfy the audit requirements of the bill.

The above requirements would become effective when it becomes law and apply to claims with weekly certification under G.S. 96-14.9 filed on or after that date, the remainder of the act would become effective when it becomes law.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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