This morning, a bill to overhaul the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) system will be heard in the House Finance Committee. Fundamental to the argument for the radical overhaul of the system is that our program is out of line with the systems in other states.
A review of state programs, however, shows that North Carolina’s program is currently in the middle of the pack. The overhaul will move us to the back of the pack on many measures, and on others completely off the charts.
- North Carolina’s current maximum duration is 26 weeks, the same as 43 other states. The proposed duration is a sliding scale from 12 to 20 weeks. No other state has a sliding scale for the minimum number of weeks while only two states (Florida and Georgia) have a sliding scale for the maximum number of weeks. Read more about the impacts of the proposed sliding scale.
- North Carolina’s current average weekly benefit amount ranks 23rd compared to other states. The proposal to cut the maximum and to use the last two quarters to calculate the benefit amount would push us to the bottom of the list.
- North Carolina’s current maximum benefit amount is indexed to the average weekly wage – this is how most states calculate the maximum. The proposal to have a flat maximum of $350 per week would push us to the bottom 15 states. Read more about the effect of cutting the maximum benefit amount here.
The temporary wage replacement for workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own helps workers and their families meet their basic needs and stabilizes the economy. North Carolina currently has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country. Now is not the time to push our program to the back of the pack. Take a look at the facts. Take action here.