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NC Senate passes back-to-work bonuses but federal law blocks them

The proposal would pay $1,500 to someone who takes a job within 30 days, or $800 if the person is hired within 60 days. But there are some hurdles.

RALEIGH, N.C. — A proposal by Senate Republicans to pay back-to-work bonuses passed the state Senate 35-10 Tuesday, despite a federal roadblock that will take an act of Congress to overcome.

Republican lawmakers are looking for ways to get people back to work. They're hoping that new bonuses for unemployed people who find jobs and keep them for two months would lure people back to a workforce that has yet to fully rebound from the pandemic.

Employers in sectors across the economy report they can't find enough workers to meet demand, even though pandemic restrictions have been lifted and more people are getting vaccinated.

"It's hard to get people in, it's just been really difficult,” Tigo Faulkner, owner of Romeo's Vegan Burgers in Charlotte, said. "There’s usually people looking for jobs so you can really find the cream of the crop, find who really fits the best. In this situation, you almost have to go with what you have."

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The proposal would pay $1,500 to someone who takes a job within 30 days, or $800 if the person is hired within 60 days.

“In my life, I've never seen a time where the government feels like they have to pay people to go to work," Tigo said. "I still have to give it to the government for doing something, trying to motivate people to come back to work because it's needed."

The North Carolina House also passed Senate Bill 116, which would end the $300 federal stimulus payment if approved.

North Carolina senator Chuck Edwards said he believes it's crucial to get people back in the habit of working before the federal stimulus is set to end on Sept. 6.

"It would be a travesty for folks to continue to receive unemployment and the federal stimulus, and then see September 6th come around and not know how they would be providing for their families," Edwards said.

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