There has been lots of activity in recent weeks around encouraging unemployed individuals to return to the workforce. As the American economy begins to rebound from an unprecedented year of pandemic related hardship, we must rebuild the workforce to meet the job demands of an emerging economy.
In recent weeks, we saw an executive order from Governor Cooper that reinstated work search requirements for individuals receiving unemployment insurance. Many of those requirements were waived in 2020. Additionally, we saw two proposals debated in the General Assembly that offer additional incentives for returning to work. Please see below:
Senate Bill 116: Putting North Carolina Back to Work Act.
The Proposed Committee Substitute to SB 116 would do the following:
- Withdraw from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC) agreement that provides an additional $300 per week to unemployment insurance claimants through September 6, 2021.
- Allow individual and corporate taxpayers, for the 2020 and 2021 tax years only, an income tax deduction for expenses paid using a loan forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Exclude $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits received in 2020 from State taxable income for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income below $150,000.
It is important to note that there is an additional effort being discussed in the House that would provide up to $250 million in childcare supplements for individuals receiving unemployment benefits as they re-enter the workforce.
Additionally, the Senate passed a Proposed Committee Substitute for House Bill 128: An Act to Reemploy NC’s Workforce.
The bill suggests several changes to the unemployment laws of North Carolina, including a provision that directs the Division of Employment Security to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to use the $300 per week supplement authorized under the FPUC program as a signing bonus for unemployed claimants receiving benefits who accept reemployment. The signing bonus would be payable as follows:
- $1,500 bonus for accepting reemployment within 30 days of the bill becoming law.
- $800 bonus for accepting reemployment within 60 days of the bill becoming law.
- No bonus paid for accepting reemployment after September 6, 2021 (current expiration date of federal supplemental unemployment insurance payments).
The bill also reinstates numerous job search requirements that mirror Governor Cooper’s executive order, along with establishing disqualifying factors for any remaining employment insurance benefits.
Millions of North Carolinians lost their jobs during the pandemic and relied heavily on unemployment benefits. However, as we are phasing out of the pandemic, local and state governments are working to get North Carolinians employed.
To learn more about our GA priorities, track legislative bills, or to read our blog posts, you can visit our webpage or follow us on Twitter @RcgaJ, @tierra_rcga, or @raleighchamber.