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3.1 Low-wage workers in the US hit by COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on low-wage workers in the United States. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, an estimated 5.1 million low-wage workers in the US have been laid off or furloughed since the start of the pandemic. This represents nearly one-third of the total number of workers affected by the crisis. Additionally, the pandemic has further highlighted the need for a national minimum wage increase. Currently, the federal minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour, which is well below the poverty line for many families. The effects of the pandemic have also highlighted the need for additional measures to protect vulnerable workers, such as paid sick leave and hazard pay.