How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in North Carolina?

To qualify for unemployment insurance in North Carolina, you must earn at least 6 times the average weekly wages (AWW) of North Carolina within the entire base period. You also must have worked during a minimum of two quarters in the base period.

The AWW of NC  as of 9/2015 is $939.

Therefore, you must earn a total of at least $5,634 within the entire base period in order to qualify for unemployment insurance in NC.

NC offers both an alternate base period and an extended base period. The alternate base period, which considers the last four completed calendar quarters in the base period (instead of the first four), is available for those who fail to qualify under the regular base period. The extended base period is available for those who were injured/disabled and received worker’s compensation. For those who qualify, the base period may be extended up to four quarters, granted that using the regular base period resulted in insufficient wages needed to qualify.

In North Carolina an employer or employing unit is covered under unemployment insurance if it paid at least $1,500 in wages during any calendar quarter in the current or previous calendar year. Further, an employer/employing unit is also covered under unemployment insurance if it paid wages to at least one employee and employed said worker at least one day per week during the 20 weeks of the current or previous calendar year.


  • Steve Parker Bennett, Jr.

    I was hired to work full time for my latest employer beginning at 8:00am, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. I was informed yesterday afternoon, without prior warning or knowledge, on January 18, 2017, @ 6:00pm, that my position had been terminated, effective immediately, at that time and day. Am I eligible for to register for and receive unemployment benefits after only working there for a little more than 6 weeks?

    Thank you for your help and assistance.

    • Time on current job isn’t the only issue – wages in the base period and prior separations are. Of course, apply. NC will review wages going back to October 1, 2015 to determine claim eligibility – as well as the circumstances of any previous job separations during that period.

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