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 1, 2010

Articles

Un-Family-Friendly

Jared Shelly • Human Resource Executive Online • October 2, 2010

“The Center for WorkLife Law in San Francisco [. . .] finds, in its Family Responsibilities Discrimination: Litigation Update 2010 study, that lawsuits by caregivers have increased 400 percent over the last 10 years. [. . .] The study also finds that the majority of family responsibility discrimination cases revolve around pregnancy and maternity leave (67 percent). Other cases are related to elder care (10 percent), caring for sick children (7 percent), caring for a sick spouse (4 percent), time off for fathers of newborns or newly adopted children (3 percent) and caring for family members with disabilities (2 percent.)”

“Most workers surveyed said taking time off when sick was difficult. Almost 90% of restaurant employees said they don’t get paid sick days, nearly 80% said they don’t get paid vacation days and about 64% said they’ve worked while sick.  Quotes from anonymous workers sprinkled throughout the report relay similar messages: Most workers don’t take time off when sick because they won’t get paid and they fear that too much time taken off will result in being fired.”

Mother PAC pushes parents’ issues

Julia Silverman • Oregonian • September 30, 2010

“Paluso and the other founders are seeking candidates to lead on five issues the group has identified as critical for parents. [. . .] Paid family leave, a concept that has failed twice in the Oregon Legislature but is due for another go-round when lawmakers reconvene in January. [. . .] Incentives for employers to be more flexible about part-time or flextime requests [. . .] A guaranteed right to accrue paid sick days.”

For Many Families, Bad Times Require ‘Doubling Up’

Corey Dade • NPR • September 30, 2010

“More adults ages 35 or older are packing up their households and bunking with in-laws, siblings, parents or other kin. It’s happening at a historically high rate, according to new Census Bureau estimates. Nearly 500,000 such folks moved in with family over the past two years, compared with some 400,000 in the 25-to-34 age group traditionally known for returning to live with parents. Together, the two groups drove an 11.4 percent increase in the number of U.S. households containing extended families.”

Paid Sick Leave Study Sparks Fevered Debate

Michael Howard Saul • Wall Street Journal • September 28, 2010

“A new business-backed study pegs the price tag of a proposed city law requiring paid sick leave for all workers at $789 million a year, kicking into high gear a debate over how much the legislation would cost employers and how many people it would help.  The Ernst & Young study—commissioned by the Partnership for New York City, the city’s leading business group and an opponent of the bill—estimates 375,000 workers in the city, or 12% of the work force, do not have paid sick leave. That contrasts with estimates from supporters, who say 1.3 million workers lack the benefit.”

Reports

Happiness Through Vacationing: Just a Temporary Boost or Long-Term Benefits?

Jeroen Nawijn • Journal of Happiness Studies • September 22, 2010

“Does vacationing add to our happiness in the long run? This question was addressed in a study of 3,650 Dutch citizens who reported their leisure travel every 3 months during 2 years and rated their happiness at the end of each year. Participants who had been on vacation appeared to be marginally happier, in terms of hedonic level of affect, than those who had not.”

Blogs

Parenthood exacerbates the gender pay gap

Dr. Michelle Budig • Hill - Congress Blog • September 30, 2010

“Finally, we need to address workplace discrimination against mothers and those making use of family benefits. Some American workplaces offer work-family benefits to some workers: paid leave, flexible scheduling, flexible work location, part-time options, and childcare assistance. But these benefits vary in availability and employees often fear reprisals from using these benefits. Moreover, sociologist Jennifer Glass’s research indicates that usage of these policies can exacerbate the motherhood penalty. Federal level work-family policies could equalize access to work-family benefits and reduce discrimination against workers who use legally sanctioned work-family benefits.”

Telework continues its Congressional tango

Joe Davidson • Washington Post - Federal Eye • September 30, 2010

“Teleworking for federal employees took a major step forward with legislation approved by the Senate Wednesday night. But it now returns to the House, which passed a different version of the legislation in July.  The Senate version would require agencies to develop policies allowing all employees to work remotely unless their positions are specifically excluded.”

Men, Millennials and Continuing the Momentum: Envisioning the Future of Work-Life

Jennifer Sabatini France • Sloan Work and Family Blog • September 30, 2010

“At the 20th Anniversary conference at Boston College, the Center for Work & Family will appeal to member organizations to pay more attention to men and their work-life needs.  As part of the September 30 conference theme: Celebrating our Past, Envisioning our Future, the Center will facilitate a dialogue about future trends including a closer examination of Men, Millennials and Meaning.”

Why you should care about paid sick leave

Jennifer LaRue Huget • Washington Post - The Checkup • September 30, 2010

“Obvious issues of humanity aside, I’m not generally in favor of slapping extra burdens on small and mid-sized businesses, especially in today’s economy. On the other hand, I’m not thrilled at the idea of having someone sneeze in my soup.  With cold and flu season nigh upon us, it’s a good time to be thinking about the impact sick workers—in restaurants and elsewhere—might have on all of us. But even if this report’s release and the attendant publicity helps get the federal law passed, it won’t go in effect soon enough to allow sick workers this season to stay home and recuperate without losing their day’s wages.”

‘Weary Working Women’ May Be Key To Midterms

Ron Elving • NPR - It's All Politics • September 28, 2010

“This could be the year of the ‘weary working women.’  They are tired from carrying the economic burdens for their families, and they may just be tired of carrying the water for the Democrats as well.”

Who’s Afraid of Paid Sick Leave?

John Petro • Huffington Post • September 28, 2010

“Even the study’s own conclusions contradict one another. While there are serious methodological flaws with how the number of workers with paid sick leave was calculated, even more troubling is the report’s logic. The report first concludes that the problem isn’t as bad as we think; most employers already provide paid sick leave and there aren’t really that many workers who don’t have it. But then the report goes on to say that, yes, we already provide paid sick leave, but if you require us to provide paid sick leave the impact will be disastrous.”

Global News

Get it, or it will get you

Author Unlisted • Economist • September 30, 2010

“The boom is over. Out in squeezed middle England, millions are terrified about their mortgages and jobs. Yet Mr Miliband wants to talk about work-life balance, the joys of quaint local shops and other expensive luxuries. Austerity has its own cultural codes: the ‘Generation Game’ was loved precisely because it was cheap. Britain’s mood has changed. For now, Mr Miliband does not seem to get it.”

Flexible working rights for all, ministers say

James Kirkup • Telegraph, UK • September 30, 2010

“The Coalition Government indicated that it will defy warnings from big companies to offer all employees – whether or not they have children – the legal right to request a change in the working patterns. [. . .] Officials confirmed that ministers are planning to press ahead with a controversial promise to give flexible working rights to childless workers.  The flexible working laws were passed with childcare in mind, but ministers believe that, as the population ages, more people will need flexible work patterns to help them care for elderly parents and other relatives.”