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Recent Changes To North Carolina Unemployment Benefits Laws

Phillip J. Strach
Haynsworth Baldwin Johnson & Greaves LLC - Office

November 7, 2003

Previously published on July 23, 2003

The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed legislation making several changes to the law governing eligibility of former employees for unemployment benefits. The new legislation allows a former employee to claim benefits when he/she leaves work to take care of a disabled family member, when he/she leaves and there is evidence of domestic violence, and when he/she is looking for part-time employment rather than full-time employment. The new legislation also reduces eligibility restrictions on certain employees who follow their spouses to a new location.

Previously, employees were qualified for benefits if they quit work because of their own disability. However, the new legislation allows employees to collect benefits if they leave work to take care of a disabled child, parent, or other immediate family member. Benefits awarded under this section of the statute are not charged to an employer's account.

Prior to the new legislation, victims of domestic violence who quit their jobs could collect benefits if a domestic violence order had been entered by the court. The new law expands eligibility by allowing employees to collect benefits when they quit if there is any evidence of domestic violence as defined in the legislation.

Under the old law, unemployed workers typically were instructed to look for full-time work to remain eligible for benefits. Under the new law, an unemployed worker can qualify for benefits, even if the worker is looking for a part-time job to, for example, supplement an existing part-time job.

Under the new law, when a claimant follows a spouse to another location because the spouse has secured work that is located too far away for the claimant to continue in his/her present job, the claimant is eligible for all but two weeks of unemployment benefits. Previously, the claimant was eligible for all but five weeks of benefits. In addition, under the new law, a claimant who quits to follow a spouse whom the military has reassigned is eligible for full benefits. According to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, this provision will be interpreted by the Commission so that benefits allowed because of a military reassignment will not be charged to an employer's account.


The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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