Low income residents in Louisiana who made minimum wage or slightly above were most affected by the coronavirus and government mandated shutdowns

Employment experts reach a consensus that forcing people out of work was particularly devastating for the New Orleans metro area 

Local government statistics show that many New Orleans residents do not own a car, and about 80% of people who live in the city limits rely on public transportation to some degree. Even before the pandemic, about 18% of the city’s residents lived in poverty, which is seen as a problematic level by economic experts. 

Those with minimal wages may have been forced into poverty after losing their jobs or working reduced hours. Disputes with employers about outstanding wages can cause an immediate change in standards of living for those with no savings or safety net. This combination of factors was given as a reason why many local residents could end up in severe poverty or becoming homeless. 

Several experts also agree that the longer the pandemic lingers over the city, the worse the consequences will be. This is because even before the coronavirus, a high percentage of residents were living paycheck to paycheck. Just about everyone who was employed in a job related to tourism in some way lost their job because of the virus, and restrictions on travel and business imposed by the state and national governments essentially froze the nation’s tourism sector completely. 

Just about 19 percent of all workers in the New Orleans metro area filed formal unemployment claims, which is very significant portion of the total workforce. Food service and retail seemed to experience the worst consequences, with about one third of all workers in those industries being forced into unemployment

Service sector workers are known to have low wages across the board, and many of them lack paid vacation time or benefits such as healthcare and retirement accounts. Given the widespread and severe nature of the pandemic, it is unlikely that the government will provide any additional services for vulnerable workers aside from allowing them to apply through the state’s unemployment system. Social workers who consistently work with low income populations said that they should be able to avoid evictions because of the moratorium, and that other forms of benefits for low income individuals such as food stamps should be utilized if necessary.  

Get help from a local employment attorney

If you have experienced issues with not being paid properly or lost a job for an illegal reason, talk with a lawyer in Louisiana. Any workplace needs to have a neutral, non-discriminatory motive when ending someone’s employment. They also cannot retaliate against someone by terminating their position.  

To speak with a professional today, contact:

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf

3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806



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