The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a feature of our modern economy: the essential workers in our society are the lowest paid and have the least job security. Grocery store and pharmacy cashiers, personal service workers and nursing home caregivers were all required to keep working through the initial fear and unknown of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Silently and imperceptibly our economy has shifted from an environment where these workers and other low wage jobs shifted from permanent jobs with benefits to precarious part-time work with no benefits. Even if the hourly wage is above the minimum wage, with part-time hours the result can still mean living below the poverty line.