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 12, 2010


Taking Early Retirement May Retire Memory, Too

Gina Kolata • New York Times • October 11, 2010

“The two economists call their paper ‘Mental Retirement,’ and their argument has intrigued behavioral researchers. Data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline.”

Workzone: Better communication can ease bad morale

Steve Twedt • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette • October 11, 2010

“With one in six Americans underemployed, unemployed or too discouraged to look for work anymore, talk about a ‘work/life’ balance may seem cheeky. If you’re feeling overworked, the prevailing perspective goes, you’re welcome to join the unemployment line—if you can find where it ends. [. . .] StrategyOne consultants conducted a recent online survey of 1,043 Americans and learned that 89 percent said balancing their work lives with their private lives was a problem, and more than half (54 percent) said it wa[s] a ‘significant problem.’”

Economists Share Nobel fro Studying Job Market

Catherine Rampell • New York Times • October 11, 2010

“The researchers spent decades trying to understand why it takes so long for people to find jobs, even in good economic times, and why so many people can be unemployed even when many jobs are available. [. . .] These researchers’ explanation addresses the complications that come from searching for jobs and job candidates: it takes time for unemployed workers to be matched with the proper opening, since people are not identical, cookie-cutter units, and neither are jobs.”

Price tag for ‘basic economic security’ rising, report says

Carol Morello • Washington Post • October 10, 2010

“In WOW’s analysis, single mothers are particularly squeezed. In most jurisdictions, the median income for working women who are raising children alone is well beneath WOW’s economic security figure. In many of the tables, two working parents earning the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would each have to work one full-time and one part-time job to reach financial security.”

Why the jobless gender gap persists

Nin-Hai Tseng • - Fortune • October 8, 2010

“And as the latest jobless report released today shows, the unemployment gender gap continues through the economic recovery. Though it has narrowed some since its peak in August 2009, the gap persists—unemployment among men hovers near 10% versus 8% for women. [. . .] The financial strains of the so-called ‘Mancession’ have pushed more women who previously took time off from their careers to search for jobs. It’s a development that’s been hard for economists to quantify, but recent studies and anecdotes offer a snapshot.”


The Spousal Safety Net

Nancy Folbre • New York Times - Economix • October 12, 2010

“Wives increased their hours of paid employment significantly more in the second period, helping explain why their relative contribution to family income increased. Declines in family wealth (such as the value of a home) probably intensified the effect of persistently high unemployment rates among men, pushing married women to accept jobs they might have refused in the earlier period.”

Not Working for the Weekend: A Q & A With Monet Pincus

Ashby Jones • Wall Street Journal - Law Blog • October 11, 2010

“ATL’s David Lat felt differently: ‘I personally find myself quite turned off — and I suspect others feel the same way. . . Even if a lawyer doesn’t work weekends, should she really announce that fact so aggressively to her clients?’  To find out exactly what’s going on, we called up the firm’s owner, Monet Pincus, to find out more about the ‘client expectations’ section, which includes some other rather stern admonitions to clients and potential clients.”

Hey, college dropouts, stop costing taxpayers millions!

Jenna Johnson • Washington Post - Campus Overload • October 11, 2010

“The American Institutes for Research announced Monday that students who drop out of college before their sophomore year cost taxpayers millions. [. . .] A 2009 Public Agenda report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found that the No. 1 reason students gave for dropping out was an inability to juggle school, work and paying bills.”

As Skilled Workforce Ages, Flexibility is Key to Business Success

Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes • Huffington Post • October 8, 2010

“Workers at all career stages report they want increased flexibility, but this desire is especially strong among older workers, who are particularly attracted to jobs that allow for flexible work arrangements and time off for family commitments. In rigidly organized industries such as manufacturing, embracing changes like flexible work arrangements will be crucial if companies hope to recruit and retain the best employees in coming years.”

Global News

Parental leave an ‘unneces[s]ary burden’ on business, says Opposition

Nicola Berkovic • Australian • October 12, 2010

“Opposition small business spokesman Bruce Billson said the Coalition would introduce a private member’s bill into parliament before the end of next month to ensure the government paid the benefit directly to parents. [. . .]  For the first six months after the scheme is introduced, Centrelink will pay the benefit directly to parents, but after then it will pay the amount to businesses, which will have to distribute it to their staff.”

Where Having It All Doesn’t Mean Having Equality

Katrin Benhold • New York Times • October 11, 2010

“Courtesy of the state, French women seem to have it all: multiple children, a job and, often, a figure to die for.  What they don’t have is equality: France ranks 46th in the World Economic Forum’s 2010 gender equality report, trailing the United States, most of Europe, but also Kazakhstan and Jamaica. Eighty-two percent of French women aged 25-49 work, many of them full-time, but 82 percent of parliamentary seats are occupied by men. French women earn 26 percent less than men but spend twice as much time on domestic tasks.”