The Covid-19 crisis has laid bare the fragility of social insurance systems in the United States and the lack of income security and basic benefits for many workers and residents. The pandemic has had a particularly grave impact on people of color and low-income individuals, while also affecting a wide array of tenants, students, and health care, service and “gig” workers. One consequence for law and policy is that addressing the social dislocations caused by the pandemic might lead to profound changes in what Americans consider essential goods for a sustainable society. This chapter examines government efforts to buttress the social infrastructure in response to the pandemic in the area of family and sick leave, employment discrimination, unemployment insurance and income security, and housing and utilities (including broadband access). The chapter considers the promise and the limitations of this emerging response. It then provides a practical guide to key legal and policy changes relevant to tenants, workers, students, and low-income individuals.
Olatunde C. Johnson,
The New "Essential": Rethinking Social Goods in the Age of Covid-19,
Law in the Time of COVID-19, Katharina Pistor, Ed., Columbia Law School, 2020
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2717
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