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?

January 29, 2010

Articles

Can Bosses Do That? As It Turns Out, Yes They Can

Author Unlisted • NPR - Morning Edition • January 29, 2010

“Did you know you could be fired for not removing a political sticker from your car — or even having a beer after work? Lewis Maltby says it’s more than possible — it’s happened. His new book, Can They Do That? explores rights in the workplace.”

Family-leave law finally covers pilots, flight attendants

L.M. Sixel • Houston Chronicle • January 28, 2010

“Nearly 17 years after a federal law gave other workers time off to care for sick family members, the nation’s flight attendants and pilots finally got the same privilege.”

Thinking Happy Thoughts at Work

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal • January 27, 2010

“Employee satisfaction has hit the lowest level in the 22-year history of the Conference Board’s annual survey on the topic. Only 45% of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs, down from 52% in 2005 and 61% in 1987, says this 5,000-household study. Mr. Achor describes one employee audience he encountered at a big banking concern as ‘ashen-faced and anxious.’  Research shows that employees’ positive attitudes can be good for business, too. A 2004 study of 60 business teams in the journal American Behavioral Scientist found teams with buoyant moods who encouraged each earned higher profit and better customer-satisfaction ratings.”

Kennewick business cares for sick kids of working parents

Kristi Phil • Tri-City Herald, WA • January 27, 2010

“What do you do if your child is ill and you can’t miss work? To provide an answer, Jean Kimerling opened Chicken Soup + Nursing in Kennewick.  It’s a unique business where working parents can drop off sick children to receive all-day care from qualified nurses. [. . .] The business idea isn’t unusual in other countries, Kimerling said, but in this country it is relatively unique.”

Blogs

Work/Life Balance: Refocusing a Flawed Concept

Jennifer Edwards • Huffington Post • January 28, 2010

“The discussion of ‘work / life balance’ is inherently challenging because it pins ‘work’ and ‘life’ against each other. We often feel as though work is hard and life should be easy, or at least easier. But in reality life is filled with work and so what we are really talking about is balancing work for monetary compensation with work that satisfies one’s need for personal reward or obligation.”

When FMLA Time Off Affects Your Performance Review

Suzanne Lucas • U.S. News and World Report - On Careers • January 28, 2010

“In addition to providing you with time off, FMLA requires that you not be punished for taking it. Therefore, the four weeks you were gone should be irrelevant to any performance evaluation. Now, in reality, it’s very difficult for managers to wrap their heads around how to do this, and most of them don’t even know that they should. Your human resources department should know, but they often don’t understand either.”

Most Low-Wage Workers Are Cheated of Pay, Report Finds

Patrick McGeehan • New York Times - City Room • January 28, 2010

“More than half of the low-wage workers in New York City are routinely being cheated of some of the meager pay that is due them, according to a report to be released on Thursday by the National Employment Law Project. [. . .] Failure to pay overtime to employees who worked more than 40 hours a week was even more common. More than three-fourths of the workers surveyed had not been paid 1.5 times their regular wages for overtime hours, as the law requires, according to the report. About one-fourth of them were paid less than their regular hourly rate or not at all for those extra hours, the report said.”

It's All Work-Life to Me

Judi Casey • Sloan Work and Family Blog • January 28, 2010

“It seems that work-life issues surface no matter what I’m doing or where I am. In fact, they are just about everywhere. Let me explain. First, there was the dreaded jury duty. [. . .] Then, there was the dermatology appointment.”

Caring for Caregivers

Terrell McSweeny • White House • January 28, 2010

“This week the Middle Class Task Force unveiled a series of initiatives in the President’s FY 11 budget that are aimed at helping families with soaring child care costs, balancing work with caring for elderly relatives or people with disabilities, paying for college, and saving for retirement.  These are costs that – along with health care – have risen dramatically for families at a time when their incomes haven’t.  Some people call this ‘squeeze’ because of the pressure these costs put on family budgets.  But for many families it just seems like it is impossible to get ahead.”

Family-Aid Proposals in State of the Union Address

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • January 27, 2010

“Middle-income families are sometimes called “the missing middle” because government child-care and elder-care policies offer them so little help.  The President targeted these families, however, with a modest set of proposals Wednesday evening in his State of the Union address. The measures reflect a sharp cutback from the expansive work-family agenda Mr. Obama promoted upon taking office, which included a federal sick-day mandate and expanded family leave. The ideas, nevertheless, would help ‘sandwich generation’ families struggling to meet child-care and elder-care needs.”

Unlimited paid leave?! Why one Seattle company is trying it

Monica Guzman • Seattle Post-Intelligencer - The Big Blog • January 26, 2010

“What if you could take as much vacation as you wanted? And your company actually thought it’d be good for the business?  If you work at Seattle-based Social Strata, you’re already there. The social media company announced Monday that each of its 14 employees is being granted access to unlimited paid leave, whenever they want it.”

The True Secret of Female MBA's?

Stephen J. Dubner • New York Times - Freakonomics • January 26, 2010

Lisa, a reader of Freakonomics, makes an observation about the value of an M.B.A for some women:  “Many of us — here’s the surprise — got our MBAs precisely because we wanted to have children and work, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to recover from the economic hit nearly as well unless we had an MBA to accelerate us back up the speed ramp when we re-entered the workforce post-child-raising! In fact, one could argue that having an MBA helps on the pregnancy end too, with presumably higher skills and therefore occasionally higher leverage to negotiate a better childcare leave than we might have otherwise.”

Global News

Minister calls for wider flexible working rights

Allegra Stratton • Guardian • January 29, 2010

“The work and pensions secretary, Yvette Cooper, has told the Guardian that her office is working with employers and organisations such as the federation of small businesses to draw up new ways of supporting men as well as women and non-parents as well as parents working more flexible hours.”

Getting Women Into Boardrooms, by Law

Nicola Clark • New York Times • January 27, 2010

“Even in this staunchly egalitarian society — 80 percent of Norwegian women work outside the home, and half the current government’s ministers are female — the idea seemed radical, if not for its goal, then for the sheer magnitude of change it would require.  Back then, Norwegian women held less than 7 percent of private-sector board seats; just under 5 percent of chief executives were women. After months of heated debate, the measure was approved by a significant majority in Parliament, giving state-owned companies until 2006 to comply and publicly listed companies until 2008.”

Harman victory sees fathers get paternity leave so mothers can return to work

Andrew Porter • Telegraph, UK • January 27, 2010

“The father will be allowed to take time off work to replace the last three months of his partner’s nine-month maternity leave.  He would be eligible during the three month period to statutory Government pay of £123 a week. After nine months, fathers will even have the right the stay off work unpaid for another three months.  Ministers believe it will allow mothers who earn more than their partners to return earlier to work than has otherwise been possible.”