Failing to extend unemployment benefits by the end of the year would devastate families in North Carolina and would harm fragile efforts at economic recovery. As we have written elsewhere, even cutting maximum benefits from its current level of 99 weeks to 59 weeks, as was recently proposed, would mean that 180,505 North Carolinians would lose unemployment benefits compared to a full extension.
At time when there are more than 4 unemployed job seekers for every job opening, unemployment insurance is a crucial lifeline for North Carolina’s families. Keeping more of North Carolina’s families from losing their homes and worrying about having enough food to feed their families starts with extending unemployment benefits, but it also includes creating and establishing jobs in which workers can feel they have job security when illness strikes, when a child is born, or when caregiving responsibilities arise.
A report released this week by the North Carolina Justice Center offers a roadmap to work-family policies, including family leave insurance and paid sick days, that support families’ economic security and allow workers to care for their families while holding on to their jobs – a trade-off North Carolina can’t afford.