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Alicia is trying to focus on her work. She is covering the second window at the fast-food restaurant where she has been working for the last three weeks. In this position she takes orders, collects money, and makes change. She’s seated in a small area to the side of the main kitchen, which gives her a little privacy. Her employer has a strict no texting rule, but glancing around to make sure she is not observed, she takes a second to tap out a quick message.

“U good?”

As she processes the next order she feels her phone vibrate, and between customers she glances down again. Her daughter has sent back a picture of a plate of cookies and milk, and the tv in the background. Sighing with relief, Alicia slides the phone back in her pocket.

The no texting rule is important, and ordinarily Alicia is not a rebel. She knows that without this job, she and her boyfriend won’t be able to make rent. But because the shift times are not consistent, she relies on a patchwork of school, friends and family to provide child care for her seven-year-old daughter. Today, she couldn’t find anyone who could watch Marissa, so she took a risk and left her home alone.

Read the full story on WorkLab Innovations’ blog.