NewsRoundup

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?

October 23, 2009

Articles

A Woman's Nation

Maria Shriver, Guest Editor • MSNBC • October 23, 2009

This is the homepage for NBC’s special coverage of the release of the Shriver Report.  On the page, find links to articles and television clips, including a recently aired episode of Meet the Press that featured David Gregory in conversation with White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Maria Shriver and John Podesta about the conclusions of the report.

Some employers adapt for parents

Andrew Gomes • Honolulu Advertiser • October 22, 2009

“Some working parents are getting help from their employers to care for children who will be out of school tomorrow, the first ‘furlough Friday’ for Hawaii public school teachers. Many companies with work rules that include flex-time or sick leave that can be used to care for dependents expect some employees to be absent tomorrow to care for school-age children.  Others are offering special assistance such as in-office child care to help their employees cope with the disruption resulting from the effort to plug the state’s budget shortfall.”

Return mission

Erica Noonan • Boston Globe • October 22, 2009

“US Census Bureau statistics from 2000 show that there were nearly 2 million unemployed women between the ages of 23 and 54 who said they had both a bachelor’s degree and children, and indicated an interest in returning to work. And it appears the demographic has grown over the past decade. Recently released US Bureau of Labor statistics from 2007 to this year found an uptick among college-educated women living with a spouse who were looking for work, while the number of men in the same situation who were looking for work dropped slightly. Newton resident Carol Fishman Cohen, a career consultant and coauthor of a 2007 book, ‘Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want To Return To Work,’ likened the trend to an explosion, as the number of large corporations offering reentry and flex-time programs for returning parents jumped from nine in 2004 to more than 62 at last count.”

New push for paid sick days

Susan M. Cover • Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, ME • October 21, 2009

“Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell is behind a renewed push to require Maine businesses to provide paid sick time to employees, in part because of concerns over the spread of the H1N1 flu virus. [. . .] During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Mitchell said she considers H1N1 ‘a public health emergency’ that demands that workers stay home when they are sick. But it will be hard to stay home for the estimated 47 percent of full-time private sector workers in Maine who don’t get paid sick time, she said.”

Younger workers want more than a paycheck

Jackie Crosby • Star Tribune, MN • October 21, 2009

“They want to work when it’s convenient to their lives—not punch in at some 9-to-5 job and be stuck sitting in a cubicle. They relish a challenge more than a paycheck, and resent it when bosses look over their shoulders or fail to reward them for a job well done.  For this, the 120 million members of Generations X and Y have been called self-centered, spoiled, slackers and lacking in motivation. But in the coming decade, 40 percent of America’s baby boom workforce will be eligible for retirement. And ready or not, employers are going to have to reckon with the workplace desires of the next generation of workers—and customers—if they hope to survive.”

Un-Retiring

Linda Stern • Newsweek • October 20, 2009

“Sixteen kids. Two teachers. One job.  Lauren Piper and Heather Velez envisioned the scenario more than a year ago when both were pregnant.  They knew they wanted to spend as much time as possible with their newborns after returning to work. But the elementary school teachers also knew they couldn’t afford to lose their entire incomes.  The answer to their proverbial wanting your cake and eating it, too?”

Blogs

When We're Equal, We'll Be Happy

Judith Warner • New York Times - Domestic Disturbances • October 22, 2009

“Life for women has not come together. That, at least, is the very clear conclusion you have to draw after reading the essays contained in ‘A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything,’ a book-length report released this week by the Center for American Progress. Despite its cheery-sounding title, the report conveys a bleak portrait of women’s non-progress in our day. The wage gap persists, particularly for mothers, who now earn 73 cents for every man’s dollar. Our workforce and education system is still sex-segregated, operating along generations-old stereotypes that steer most women into low-paid, low-status, low-security professions. Women pay more for health insurance than men, have more extensive health needs than men, and suffer unique forms of discrimination in their coverage. (Women may be denied coverage because they had a Caesarean delivery or were victims of domestic violence — both ‘preexisting conditions.’) Regardless of the number of hours they work, they continue to do far more caretaking and housekeeping work at home than do their husbands. And discrimination against mothers (but not fathers) in the workplace is all but ubiquitous.”

Does Swine Flu Shift Sick Leave Decision

April Fulton • NPR - NPR Health Blog • October 22, 2009

“We know we should stay home, but last-minute childcare arrangements and the pileup of work awaiting us if we dare break routine for a day or more seem more daunting than just soldiering on into work or school, armed with decongestant and a box of tissues. But now we’re in the H1N1 world, and the risks of soldiering on seem higher. What if our family has been exposed to the new virus but nobody’s sick yet? What if we think we’re healthy and we’re still shedding the virus and able to infect others?”

The Work-Life Tip Sheet: 10 Steps to a Successful Workplace

Deborah Frett • Huffington Post • October 22, 2009

“Over the years, there’s been plenty of shaming big employers—picketing, signs with attack slogans, marching in the streets. But the game of us-against-them doesn’t work. In order to transform the workplace to better reflect today’s workforce, we need to think about how to make working women and their families happy.  Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation learned some tips to creating successful workplaces for both employers and their employees. Well, there are actually quite a few, but at least we know these efforts are worth it and it seems that the stock market is starting to agree.”

“The launch of A Woman’s Nation was even bigger and bolder.  So, for what it’s worth and because people keep asking me, it’s time to answer the question, ‘What do I think?’  First, let me say a couple of things.  Like Womenomics, The Shriver Report is well done and well intentioned.  In fact, two of my favorite thinkers, Brad Harrington of Boston College’s Center for Work and Family, and the writer/feminist, Courtney Martin, contributed excellent chapters.  Issues such as pay inequity, lack of representation in senior levels, and sharing of care responsibilities are all important issues to discuss specifically as they relate to women, but…We really, seriously, once and for all, need to stop talking about the need for work+life flexibility solely in the context of women!”

Burned Out? Take a Creative Sabbatical

Gina Trapani • HarvardBusiness.org - Work Smarter • October 20, 2009

“In an early episode of the excellent TV series Mad Men, agency partner Roger Sterling walks into creative director Don Draper’s office to find Don gazing off into space.  ‘I’ll never get used to the fact that most of the time it looks like you’re doing nothing,’ Sterling quips.  Sterling should take comfort in the fact that our best creative work is done in times of reflection and idleness. Studies have shown that the wandering mind is more likely to have a ‘Eureka!’ moment of clarity and creativity. Taking breaks and zoning out from everyday tasks gives our brains time to do a kind of long-term, big-picture thinking that immediate engagement with bosses and clients and email and meetings does not.”

Global News

Business leaders speak out over parental leave

Darren Devine • WalesOnline, Western Mail • October 23, 2009

“City high-flier and mother-of-three Nichola Pease has re-ignited the debate about maternity leave after telling a Treasury committee last week the 12-month allowance is too generous. Here we ask business leaders if holding open senior positions for a woman to return to work after 12 months is putting too great a strain on companies. Darren Devine reports Laura Tenison’s life is too packed full of passions for rest. She says she’s never missed a school play or any other significant milestone in the life of her children Toby, 10, and Ben, 14.  She picks them up from school each day, while running her £20m-turnover maternity wear firm JoJo Maman Bébé via a BlackBerry.”

Why don't more dads work part-time?

Stuart Jeffries • Guardian • October 21, 2009

“Tom, 37, is one of those unreconstructed fathers whose world-view flies in the face of today’s report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which suggests the majority of working fathers are unhappy with their work-life balance. The Fathers, Family and Work report found that that 62% of fathers thought that dads should spend more time caring for their children.  Tom, a shoe salesman from Birmingham who spends most of his working life on the English motorway system in a Skoda Octavia estate, is married with a three-year-old daughter and an 11-month-old son. He didn’t take the two weeks’ paternity leave to which he was entitled and has never sought to go part-time. His wife, Sue, who was a shop assistant before their first child was born, is now a full-time mother.”