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 29, 2010


Welfare Reform Failing Poor Single Mothers

Melinda Burns • Miller-McCune • October 28, 2010

“The women at the bottom in America, single mothers on public assistance, are sometimes called ‘drawer people,’ the subjects of case files that stay in the welfare manager’s drawer, year after year. They are mothers who quit work or can’t work because they are ill or disabled, or illiterate, or victims of abuse, or the sole caregivers for an elderly parent or chronically sick child.”

Survey: Two-thirds of restaurant employees come to work sick

Margaret Harding • Pittsburgh Triune-Review • October 26, 2010

“Almost 90 percent of food service workers do not receive health insurance through their employer, and about 88 percent don’t receive paid sick days, according to the survey. That could contribute to employees showing up to work while ill.  But offering paid time off is nothing to sneeze at, said Patrick Conway, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association. [. . .] Most mangers encourage sick employees to stay home and will work with them to find someone to cover a shift, Conway said.”

Earnings by age and sex, third quarter of 2010

Author Unlisted • Bureau of Labor Statistics • October 25, 2010

“Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $662, or 81.4 percent of the $813 median for men, in the third quarter of 2010.” [Click the link for an interesting graph of earnings by gender and age.]

Why Women Live Longer

Thomas Kirkwood • Scientific American • October 21, 2010

“So why do women live longer than men? One idea is that men drive themselves to an early grave with all the hardship and stress of their working lives. If this were so, however, then in these days of greater gender equality, you might expect the mortality gap would vanish or at least diminish. Yet there is little evidence that this is happening. Women today still outlive men by about as much as their stay-at-home mothers outlived their office-going fathers a generation ago. Furthermore, who truly believes that men’s work lives back then were so much more damaging to their health than women’s home lives?”

“The custom-fit workplace is an integrative idea to help employers and employees work together to end the tug-of-war between jobs and life outside of work. It’s a way to solve work-life conflicts that is good for business and, at the same time, good for people, their families, and their communities.”


Work Schedule Flexibility in Hourly Jobs

Susan J. Lambert, Anna Haley-Lock, and Julia R. Henly • •

“In this paper, we draw on national U.S. Census data and findings from three comparative case studies of low-level hourly jobs across several industries to identify conditions of work in the U.S. that complicate the implementation of work schedule flexibility in hourly jobs. [. . .] We conclude by identifying private and public tools for delivering meaningful flexibility to jobs with scarce and fluctuating work hours.”


Think Flexibly/Act Locally: The National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility Goes on the Road

Katie Corrigan and Jessica Glenn Hallstrom • Huffington Post • October 28, 2010

“There’s no doubt we’ve reached a turning point this year. There is increasing agreement that flexibility can support working families and business’ bottom line at the same time.  And indeed, there are many innovative, effective workplace flexibility practices being used right now that are benefiting both employees and employers. [. . .] Sharing these stories—and spreading the word on innovative practices—is a key to creating meaningful change in the American workplace. Which is why it is so critical the Obama Administration has taken this national conversation on workplace flexibility on the road, and into local communities.”

What Should You Have to Sacrifice to Get a Job?

Catherine Rampell • New York Times - Economix • October 28, 2010

“As part of its nationally representative survey sample of 818 American workers (interviewed between July 19 and Aug. 6), the center asked workers what changes workers should be willing to make to get a job.  Three-quarters of respondents said that the jobless should accept a temporary job, be willing to work in a position of a lower status than previous work, find a job in a different area than they have experience in, and be willing to accept less favorable working hours.”

Gaps in Motherhood Policy

Monica Potts • American Prospect - Tapped • October 27, 2010

“[. . .] women depend on jobs more than they depend on public assistance
[. . .] All this means that more workplace regulations, like forcing all employers to provide paid sick leave and better child care for working parents could do a lot to help low-income women. But paid sick leave bills aren’t going anywhere, even in New York City.”

Todd Lally Has “Never Seen” Gender Discrimination, Therefore It Does Not Exist

Meredith Simons • Slate - XX Factor • October 27, 2010

“At a recent debate, when candidates were asked what they planned to do about the fact that gender discrimination makes Kentucky one of the worst places in America for women to live, Lally responded thusly: ‘I look at women’s issues like any other issue. We have equal rights in this country, we have fought—women have fought very hard for those equal rights. Uh, it’s up to them. I mean my wife is a working woman, she works very, very hard and she’s been very successful. I’ve not seen any barriers in her career and I don’t believe that exists.’”

Workplace Flexibility: Ensuring Success for the 21st Century

Stephen M. Wing • Huffington Post • October 27, 2010

“The Dialogue in Dallas created the opportunity for many stakeholders to exchange valuable viewpoints and experiences, yet much is left to be done in terms of expanding the knowledge and awareness of the positive business and employee benefits of flexibility.”

Obama Administration Highlights Work-Family Balance, Military Families

Katherine Lewis • Katherine's Working Moms Blog • October 26, 2010

“First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the Shriver Women’s Conference, speaking today about the challenges faced by spouses of active duty military. ‘As a working mom, I thought I knew a thing or two about the challenge of balancing a fulltime job with the round-the-clock needs of my family juggling the recitals and conference calls, making those endless to-do lists that I never got through, and often lost feeling like I was falling short both at work and at home,’ Obama said. ‘You want to talk about balancing work and family? Try doing that when your partner has an intense, dangerous, round-the-clock job and that job is located halfway around the world.’”

Global News

Working mothers: why having a baby need not mean the end of your career

Anna Tims • Guardian, UK • October 23, 2010

“Most mothers prefer, of course, to shrink their horizons and enjoy their baby, which is why the pay gap between men and women in their 30s and above widens so unnervingly.  However, impending cuts in child benefit and tax credits, on top of soaring living costs, could impel many middle-income parents to return to work sooner than they might have chosen and, although revised legislation and shifting social attitudes have made it easier to combine career and family, the enormity of the shift from Teletubbies to teleconferencing remains as daunting as it ever was.”

Profiting from sexism

Author Unlisted • Economist • October 21, 2010

“Working women in South Korea earn 63% of what men do. Not all of this is the result of discrimination, but some must be. South Korean women face social pressure to quit when they have children, making it hard to stay on the career fast track. Many large companies have no women at all in senior jobs.  This creates an obvious opportunity. If female talent is undervalued, it should be plentiful and relatively cheap. Firms that hire more women should reap a competitive advantage. And indeed, there is evidence that one type of employer is doing just that.”