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What do you think about required "volunteer" hours for unemployment benefits?

The NC Senate has passed a bill (NC Senate Bill 737) that - if passed - would require unemployment beneficiaries to volunteer 5 hours a week after the first 8 weeks, and double to 10 hours a week after a year of receiving benefits.

Volunteer work could be done at non-profit organizations, government entities, schools, churches or libraries.

At first blush, I would have to say I really like this proposal. Frankly, 5 hours of volunteer work a week is not that much (but I am not saying it should be more). But what do you think?

Answer Question

Asked by KateDinVA at 9:59 PM on May. 20, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 20 (9,473 Credits)
Answers (34)
  • Excellent idea. Love it. That way they aren't just getting the money for free. I know a few people who feel bad about having to be on assistance, and with that, it won't make them feel like they're just getting it for free, and maybe help them to realize that they're at least helping out the community to get that money. So, it would be kinda like a paycheck.

    Answer by hopeandglory53 at 10:02 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • I think it's a good idea, and certainly more productive than just sitting around waiting for a job. It would also be a way to put something back into each local town and economy ~ and if done right, it might offset some of the work that isn't getting done because of layoffs, etc.

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 10:02 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • as long as it doesn't get in the way of finding a real job, i think it's a great idea.

    Answer by samurai_chica at 10:04 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • Not only unemployment, but definetely those on social programs. Too many people use and abuse our system and could be productive members of society, yet hide behind titles of depression, bi-polar and many other names given to them by over paid professionals. There are people who truely use it for what it should be, in emergency situations, but to have this as your permanent state of existing should have to have some consequences of contributing to the hand out. Anyone who is getting assistance yet has the ability to get a masters degree while our tax money pays their way should have to be a productive citizen. Our system need reform .....

    Answer by LeJane at 10:07 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • I agree with pp. What if the beneficiary finds it having to volunteer as an excuse to refuse job opportunities.

    Answer by MMXI at 10:08 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • "Required Volunteer" is a job, keyword being "required". Leave the volunteer work for those who want to volunteer, not the people who have real problems! I hope I get required benefits (ins. etc.) when its required to become a volunteer.

    Answer by KiraStadnik at 10:13 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • Kira, I do agree with you that "required volunteer" is an oxymoron. But is insurance required? Not all employers offer it, especially if the job is technically an "independent contractor" instead of a w-2 employee.

    I don't think volunteer work would get in the way of accepting a regular job, but I can see how some people would feel obligated to not leave the volunteer post because they enjoy where they are working and don't want to leave the people they've been working with with less help.

    The ESC (Employment Securities Commission) of NC also suggests this could help people network, aiding in getting a job.


    Comment by KateDinVA (original poster) at 10:21 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • It depends, to me. If it is during the first period (not the extensions) or if the person has a "back to work" date, then I don't think it should apply to them. Considering in Michigan I know multiple people who just ran out of extensions after TWO YEARS...104 WEEKS of unemployment and then could magically find a job..for sure. There are job postings ALL OVER the place here, and I really think a lot of people would rather max out unemployment from the comfort of their sofa than take a job that isn't exactly what they were doing before. I don't think that you should have to take whatever you can get right away, but if after 3 months or whatever the initial period is, if you haven't found a suitable job, volunteering sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 10:27 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • That can be tricky...
    I think it is a good idea.

    For single moms, having a job means no income and no income means no babysitting or daycare money.
    It would be good if they offered childcare for the time the unemployed parent is volunteering.

    For other with no kids... Volunteering is a great alternative to staying home doing nothing. 5-10 hrs a week will not out a damper on job searches if planned appropriately.

    Answer by KayGia0704 at 10:28 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • Yeah, I know what you mean. I just dont like bills like this passed. Only because if you want to volunteer, go ahead, volunteer, no one is stopping you. Don't force me to do it. And I was being a little sarcastic about the insurance. But those things need to be decided upon too. Thats just my opinion though..

    Answer by KiraStadnik at 10:40 PM on May. 20, 2011

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