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With companies struggling to make new hires, NC lawmakers suggest 'back to work' bonuses

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A handful of North Carolina Republicans are trying to figure out a way to entice people back to work, including the possibility of cash bonuses. 

The bill presented Thursday would use federal money to pay people $1,500 as an incentive for taking a new job.

"We see a lot of businesses that have just closed. They put up signs that say, 'We will be back when we can find employees,'" said Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, who presented the bill Thursday.

The proposal is a $1,500 back-to-work bonus for those who work at least four weeks. Lawmakers behind the proposal want to use federal money to pay for the bonuses. If this were to take effect, it would also change the requirements for people on unemployment back to the pre-pandemic standards and cut off benefits for those who don't go to job interviews they're offered. 

As of earlier this month, the average unemployment benefit in North Carolina was $495 a week, according to the Division of Employment Security. That includes the additional $300 a week people are receiving from the federal government. 

This proposal comes as businesses in North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as a lot of other states, are having trouble filling openings. Some companies in our area are offering signing bonuses for workers, including CarowindsAmazon, and an electric scooter company called Spin

Other companies are taking a different route and raising their minimum wage to try to get people back to work. Under Armour announced Wednesday that they're joining McDonald's, Walmart and Chipotle in upping their hourly rate.