The resumption of weekly work-search requirements begins Monday for unemployed and furloughed North Carolinians.
All unemployed North Carolinians will have to fulfill the requirement to continue to receive regular state and two extended federal unemployment benefits.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 216, issued on May 21, also directs the N.C. Commerce Department “to explore opportunities ... to establish a reemployment incentive program for jobless workers who find and maintain employment.”
Certain unemployed and furloughed North Carolinians have been eligible since February for a $300 weekly payment from the second round of federal pandemic extended unemployment benefits. That program is slated to end Sept. 6 unless extended again by Congress.
Cooper reinstated the work-search requirement for new UI claimants in Executive Order No. 200 on March 14.
“Unemployment benefits have provided a critical lifeline for many North Carolinians living on the edge due to the pandemic,” Cooper said. “As our state emerges from the pandemic, we want to help people safely return to work as soon as possible.
“Reinstating the work-search guidelines will help connect claimants with employers, resources and tools to help them return to the workforce.”
The requirements involve:
Contacting at least three employers weekly and keeping a record of the attempts. One contact can be met by attending an approved re-employment event offered by a NCWorks Career Center or a partnership agency.
Registering with a jobseeker account at NCWorks.gov. NCWorks.gov assists job-seekers in searching and applying for jobs, accessing labor-market information and finding opportunities for workforce training.
DES said that for audit purposes for those receiving UI benefits, work search records are required to be kept for five years.
Cooper’s May 21 executive order was made public about five hours after a group of 60 state House Republicans, led by Majority Leader John Bell IV of Wayne County, sent Cooper a letter urging him to restart the requirement.
“In our districts, we continue to hear from small business owners who are unable to fill new jobs,” the letter states. “We believe reinstating work-search requirements is a common-sense step to help connect the unemployed with new job opportunities.
“With our state now fully reopened, it is imperative that we encourage North Carolinians to explore current job openings and utilize reemployment resources.
“This will help the unemployed while addressing the growing number of job openings across the state that are not being filled.”
Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said the key elements of Executive Order No. 216 “have been in the works.”
“Legislative leadership was actually informed (the) morning that this was happening before the House members sent their letter.”