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.


  • Anthony Brown

    I started working at little ceasers around August 26 getting paid $7.25 working 3 days a week now. from 4 till 8, 4 till 10:30,& from 4 till 10:30 getting paid every to weeks how long do I have to work here in order to receive unemployment.

  • Christina

    Hi I’m wondering if I can collect unemployment if I started work in June and I’m being let go tomorrow September 1st bc I was t able to make enough sales for the company I make $15 hourly and I work ft

    • If that has been your only work in the past 15 months, the answer is no. What is your work history prior to this job? You need earnings in at least two completed calendar quarters in order to qualify.

      • Christina Coradin

        I worked at Sam’s club part time and made 12 an hour but that was from June of last year ending in December of last year also, then I worked not too long at other Teo places earlier this year but it’s hard for me bc I have an autistic child

  • I started work in middle of August and my work closes down in Dec till march am I still eligible for unemployment

    • Apply first week Jan. 2018, and you will qualify. NC will review wages Jan-Dec. 2017.

      If you apply in Dec., you will be denied b/c only one quarter of wages will appear in your base period – quarter ending 9/30/2017 – unless you have another quarter of earnings prior to this job going back to October 2016.

  • Joe Smith

    We hired a new employee for sales on May 1st, 2017. Performance has been very poor and sales have actually gone down. We want to get rid of this employee, asap. Will we have to pay unemployment if we terminate employment August 4th, 2017?

  • My mom is wondering if she would qualify for benefits she worked from march 2017 up until July 12, 2017 she made $7.50 an hour and she worked monday-friday from 7-3 everyday she was fired due to being out with her husband that died can you help me with some answer so I can let her know thanks

    • NC will examine all earnings 4/1/16-3/31/17 – or 7/1/16-6/30/17. If she has earnings in two quarters during either of those periods totaling $1,560 she will be monetarily eligible.

      Employer discharging her due to absences because of family illness/death may be a bigger issue in NC. She needs to apply and let NC process the claim. Expect at least a six week-two month wait for approval.

  • doanald macking

    i worked at a place for almost 17 yrs quit in feb and went to another location the location i went to has had a decline in customers and i was let go i worked there since feb always there on time and did several positions i made $12.00 i also operate a side job that is a hit and miss am i able to apply for unenployment ?

  • Alexander Bross

    I work at a restaurant and started on February 26th and just found out today that they will start doing layoffs around November because i live in a resort area and business goes slow in the winter time. It will be a temporary layoff and i will be expected to return in February 2018 if i do get layed off for lack of hours wil li be able to collect unemployment? I make 11 dollars an hour and work 44 hours a week.

    • You will qualify in NC. Max number of weeks paid in NC is 13 – so, hopefully you will be back to work at that time. You will be expected to search for other work while collecting benefits, unless NC grants you a waiver. However, waivers are normally granted only for claimants with a return-to-work date of 28 days. Chances are you will need to do a work search and take other suitable work, if offered. If you refuse suitable work, your benefits will stop.

  • 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *