Giving Compass' Take:

• At Equitable Growth, Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez Cumming explain the disparate impact of COVID-19 on part-time workers, many of whom are already marginalized.

• How do coronavirus' disproportionate impacts on these workers impact children and add to the cycle of marginalization in certain communities? What can we do to affect policy that addresses institutionalized injustices?

Find funds to assist marginalized workers and other coronavirus response efforts.

Part-time workers are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus recession. They have accounted for almost one-third of the decline in employment since pre-pandemic February, despite making up less than one-sixth of the U.S. workforce. Between February and May, the unemployment rate of part time workers surged from 3.7 percent to 19.7 percent.

Even before the current economic downturn, part-time workers—those working less than 35 hours per week—were already an especially vulnerable segment of the workforce. Part-time workers are disproportionately women of color, are much more likely to experience financial strain, and are much less likely to receive benefits such as paid holidays, health benefits, and family leave.

Part-time workers’ unemployment toll is particularly concerning in the context of the current crisis. Many of them are taking on new caregiving responsibilities and may need positions that demand fewer hours. What’s more, part-time workers are experiencing delays and barriers to access unemployment benefits, much like what is happening to independent contractors and the self-employed. Increasing unemployment insurance through proposals included in the Heroes Act, which just passed the U.S. House of Representatives, would work as a mechanism for macroeconomic stabilization, making this recession shorter and less severe. It also would represent a step forward in alleviating long-standing disparities that have prevented many workers, and especially Black workers, from receiving benefits.

Policymakers should also help part-time workers by ensuring these positions are well-paid and secure by expanding access to basic benefits such as paid family leave and paid sick leave—benefits to which Black workers, who are also particularly impacted by recessions and left behind by recoveries, have less access to than their White peers.

Read the full article about part-time workers by Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez Cumming at Equitable Growth.