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?

November 12, 2010

Articles

Deficit panel leaders propose curbs on Social Security, major cuts in spending, tax breaks

Lori Montgomery • Washington Post • November 11, 2010

“To meet that goal, Bowles and Simpson are proposing to slay a herd of sacred cows, including the tax deduction for mortgage interest claimed by many homeowners, the tax-free treatment of employer-provided health insurance and the practice of letting retirees claim Social Security benefits starting at age 62. The blueprint would raise the early retirement age to 64 and the standard retirement age to 69 for today’s toddlers.”

Parents’ Stress filters down to kids, not that Mom and Dad notice

Mary Forgione • Los Angeles Times • November 11, 2010

“Parents’ stress can take a toll on their kids. Ask children, not Mom and Dad, how they are affected by their parents’ stress.  In a new survey reported by the American Psychological Assn., children who say their parents are stressed out also say they feel that way. Some said it made them feel sad, worried or frustrated — feelings parents seem to be unaware of, according to the survey.”

Going ROWE: Still ROWE-ing in Minnesota County Human Services and Public Health Department

Gadi Dechter • Center for American Progress • November 10, 2010

“Indeed, we have been describing D.C. CTO Bryan Sivak’s experiment as ‘the first government department in the country of its size to Go ROWE.’  To correct the error, and to give readers something to read while the Washington experiment languishes in bureaucratic purgatory, we asked Truesdell, the ROWE manager in Hennepin County’s Human Services and Public Health Department, to fill us in on what’s going on there.”

Delayed Dreams and Low Pay for the Malemployed

Kristen Meinzer, Producer • Takeaway • November 9, 2010

“We all know the words unemployment and underemployment, but are you familiar with the term “malemployment?” Chances are, even if you don’t know the word, you know some who’s suffering through it. Malemployment, unlike underemployment, isn’t about workers having too little work. It’s about college degree holders working jobs that don’t require college degrees.”

Blogs

You’re Sick? Really?

Robin Schooling • women of hr • November 12, 2010

“Yes, the trains need to run on time, the donuts need to be made, and the teacups need to be packed for shipment. There are some jobs that require strict clock-in/clock-out times or require that the 2nd shift worker be in place before the 1st shift worker can go home. And I fervently believe that it is employers, not the government, who need to be allowed to determine what works best for their work environment, organization and industry when it comes to crafting paid leave policies and flexible work arrangements.  But sometimes what gets lost in all the talk about workplace flexibility, is the realization that there are some widely differing views of what that means.”

What Might Be The Impact of the State Elections on Connecticut Employers? Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Daniel Schwartz • Connecticut Employment Law Blog • November 11, 2010

“One legislative item that seems to be up for serious discussion, however, is mandatory paid sick leave. [. . .] The votes have seemed to be there in the past.  Republicans in the Connecticut General Assembly, however, will attempt to block its passage but admitted this week that they face an uphill battle in convincing the public and fellow legislators.  Expect to see this on the legislative agenda when the session starts again in early 2011.”

Secure a Mobile Workforce

Mike Tavares • BusinessWeek - Today's Tip • November 11, 2010

“For the most part, the mainstreaming of telecommuting and the arrival of the virtual or mobile office has been a positive development, both in terms of employee productivity and cost reduction. However, one of the challenges of the proliferating mobile workforce is for companies to ensure that their most-sensitive customer and corporate information is truly secure.”

Suppressing Your Personal Life to Reach the Top

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • November 10, 2010

“While I’m sure it’s great for Porat’s clients and colleagues that she’s always available for them and doesn’t seem to let her family and health issues intrude on her productivity, I question whether suppressing your personal life to such an extent is really a good thing overall, and whether it’s something we should admire.  I think one of the chief ways society as a whole will reach saner work-life equilibrium is if businesses—including top executives—recognize and acknowledge that employees at all levels, women and men alike, have lives outside of work.”

From Erica Jong

Erica Jong • New York Times - Motherlode • November 10, 2010

“In my opinion, the U.S. is profoundly unrealistic about babies and what it takes to raise them well. While my Dutch and French publishers can rely on excellent health care, affordable pre-K facilities and flex-time for parents, American parents cannot. All the rage of the mommy bloggers would be better spent on political pro-parent action than on one-upping each other about who is the better parent.”

Telecommuting Can Keep Employees Happy – And Cost You Customers

Wayne Turmel • BNET - Connected Manager • November 10, 2010

“Many people think of telecommuting and remote working as the answer to life’s problems (and if that’s all it takes, I want their life!). While it’s true that allowing flexibility in where and when people work can raise productivity and reduce turnover, it can also cause headaches if it’s not done with the business in mind. If customers can’t get served, or your internal people can’t get their work done because important information doesn’t flow, then all the cost savings in the world won’t save you.”

Why Google’s cutting back on bonuses

Felix Salmon • Reuters - Felix Salmon • November 10, 2010

“I love the way that Google is giving all its employees a 10% pay rise, and cutting back on payment in the form of bonuses and equity.  [. . .] Google, like most successful high-tech companies, wants to be a place where people love to work—and where they work all the better because they love to work there so much. That’s why it’s big on perks like free food, or luxury buses with fast wifi from San Francisco to Mountain View.”

Palin, working-class hero

Steven Livingston • Washington Post - Political Bookworm • November 9, 2010

“High-school-educated men have seen their wages fall by 25 percent since 1973 and fear that one false step can push their families into poverty. To beat back GOP talk about ‘family values,’ Democrats need to shift the focus to the un-workability of life day-to-day in hard-pressed American families. Americans work the longest hours of virtually any industrialized country, with the fewest family supports. Family values demand policies that enable Americans both to support and care for their families.”

Global News

Single parents should ‘prepare for work’ when child is a year old

Andrew Grice • Independent, UK • November 12, 2010

“Unemployed single parents whose youngest child is aged between one and five could be caught by new sanctions aimed at persuading the workshy to take jobs rather than remain on benefits. But the move, outlined in a White Paper yesterday, ran into immediate criticism from children’s charities and groups representing single mothers.”

Just one in 10 small firms allow flexible working

Louisa Peacock • Telegraph, UK • November 11, 2010

“A study of 5,000 small businesses each employing up to 250 people in the UK found just over one in 10 allowed their staff to work flexibly. Under current law, workers with children aged 16 or under are entitled to ask their employer whether they can work flexibly, which must be considered formally by the business. However, firms can justifiably reject the request on business grounds.”