Senate Bill 737 would require people receiving unemployment benefits to perform at least five hours of community service a week if they receive benefits for more than eight weeks. After a year of benefits, the service requirement would increase to 10 hours per week.
Volunteer opportunities would be fairly open and could include nonprofits, religious organizations, governmental entities, or even helping at a school or library.
Under the legislation, unemployment beneficiaries would have to provide written verification of their service to the NC Employment Security Commission each week or supply a doctor’s note excusing them.
Some legislators have questioned whether such a requirement on the state level could be implemented under a federal unemployment program.
Other legislators believe it could be a great opportunity for the unemployed, communities, and the state. The unemployed could use their community service as an opportunity to expand their networking and gain new employable skills with the additional potential to gain permanent employment through the organization with which they are working.
As for the argument that mandating community service is no different than involuntary servitude, the last time I checked, nobody forced you to accept unemployment benefits.
If implemented, this bill has the potential to be a win-win for all players involved.