The Roundup will be brought to you in July and August by the new Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN), an international membership organization for interdisciplinary work and family academics. The WFRN welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders. The Roundup is a compilation of the latest news articles, reports and other materials related to workplace flexibility delivered to your inbox on Monday and Thursday. In the fall, the WFRN will launch its new website which will include a News Feed among other features. We hope that you will get involved as a member and by posting the latest news. Questions?

August 29, 2011


The Companies Doing the Most to Make Their Employees Happier

Jacquelyn Smith • Forbes • August 29, 2011

“Fat paychecks, light workloads, and endless vacation days don’t necessarily add up to happy employees. In fact, the happiest employees in the U.S. credit their bliss to first-rate employee incentives, ample benefits, career advancement programs, and great work-life balance. The companies that have been the most dedicated to cultivating and advancing these things in the past year have seen employee happiness soar.”

Obama’s Choice for Economic Adviser Is Known as Labor Expert

Catherine Rampell • New York Times • August 29, 2011

“Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton University professor who recently served as chief economist for the United States Treasury, was tapped on Monday by President Obama to head the Council of Economic Advisers.  Dr. Krueger, 50, was probably chosen in part for his award-winning research on the job market, an asset at a time when the country is suffering from the worst unemployment in a generation.”

San Francisco may hold lesson as Denver ponders mandating paid sick leave

Steve Raabe • Denver Post • August 28, 2011

“Supporters of the Denver proposal note that three research studies — all conducted by groups favoring paid sick leave — show that San Francisco businesses have suffered little or no harm from the ordinance.  Even San Francisco business owners and advocates admit that it’s difficult to quantify the harm caused by the initiative passed in 2007 that requires employees to grant workers paid sick time. Some San Francisco businesses have complained about the ordinance, but they say the effect is minimal compared with bigger burdens such as an increase in the city’s minimum wage and a health-insurance expenditure mandate.”

Grandparents play a bigger role in child-rearing

Hope Yen • Associated Press • August 26, 2011

“Less frail and more involved, today’s grandparents are shunning retirement homes and stepping in more than ever to raise grandchildren while young adults struggle in the poor economy.  The newer grandparents are mainly baby boomers who are still working, with greater disposable income. Now making up 1 in 4 adults, grandparents are growing at twice the rate of the overall population and sticking close to family—if their grandkids aren’t already living with them.”

The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man

Mike Dorning • Bloomberg Businessweek • August 24, 2011

“As President Barack Obama puts together a new jobs plan to be revealed shortly after Labor Day, he is up against a powerful force, long in the making, that has gone virtually unnoticed in the debate over how to put people back to work: Employers are increasingly giving up on the American man.  If that sounds bleak, it’s because it is. The portion of men who work and their median wages have been eroding since the early 1970s. For decades the impact of this fact was softened in many families by the increasing number of women who went to work and took up the slack. More recently, the housing bubble helped to mask it by boosting the male-dominated construction trades, which employed millions.”


Celebrating Women's Equality Day

Tina Tchen • White House • August 26, 2011

“President Obama understands that supporting women translates into stronger families and a stronger economy.  That is why over the past two and a half years, the Obama Administration has placed an emphasis on implementing policies that empower women to realize their full economic potential.  The Administration has looked at issues from workplace flexibility to wage inequality, and expanded small business lending to women businesses owners though the Small Business Administration.”

Time, Money and Unemployment

Nancy Folbre • New York Times - Economix • August 29, 2011

“They found that about 30 percent of the forgone market work hours during the recession were reallocated to housework and about 5 percent to child care. An additional 10 percent were reallocated to education, health care and civic activities. Time devoted to job searches increased, but remained relatively small, perhaps because there’s not that much people can do when jobs aren’t available.  Most of the remaining time went to increased sleep time and leisure, including more television viewing. Not surprisingly, women were more likely than men to reallocate time to housework. They were also more likely to increase their sleep time.”

Flexibility for Me, Not Thee

Vivia Chen • Careerist • August 26, 2011

“Everyone wants more work freedom, but being physically in the office carries more weight than you’d expect in this day of nonstop communication. We seem to confer greater legitimacy to the efforts of those who toil in the office. Are we suspicious that people working out of the office are goofing off? Or are we just uptight that they have too much autonomy?”

Bloomberg Case: Open Season to Discriminate Against Mothers?

Joan Williams • Huffington Post • August 26, 2011

“If we abandon these basic principles of anti-discrimination law, it’s open season on mothers. And that’s a really, really devastating setback for women. Studies show what dooms women economically in the United States is not being a woman—it’s being a mother. If the courts refuse to protect mothers on the fast track simply because other mothers decided to leave, we are not going to have gender equality anytime soon. That’s for damn sure.”

Global News

Why Are India’s Women So Stressed Out

Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid • Harvard Business Review Blog Network • August 29, 2011

“Traditional family structures have a disproportionate effect on Indian women, even those who are urban, college-educated professionals, and especially for those who are the first generation in their families to have a career. Indian women are pulled by demands from relatives as they attempt to conform to the paradigm of ‘ideal daughter,’ ‘ideal wife,’ and ‘ideal daughter-in-law.’ Among the many interviews conducted in researching the book, it wasn’t at all rare to hear of successful professionals who woke up at 4:30 a.m. to make breakfast and lunch for children and parents-in-law, put in a full day at work, then returned home to clean up after the extended family and prepare dinner.”