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 16, 2010

Articles

Spending Worries Put Jobless Benefits at Risk

Janet Hook and Sara Murray • Wall Street Journal • November 16, 2010

“Congress is unlikely to agree to extend jobless benefits for two million unemployed workers by the time the program begins to lapse in two weeks, as lawmakers struggle with a packed lame-duck session and voter antipathy toward government spending. [. . .] The program, which provides aid for up to 99 weeks after workers are laid off, has been extended seven times during the economic downturn.”

Employers Pickier About Job Applicants’ Skills

Wendy Kaufman • NPR - Morning Edition • November 16, 2010

“Employers have millions of jobs they are trying to fill. But in some cases, they are having trouble.  How can that be with 15 million Americans out of work and looking for jobs?  Part of the answer lies in the mismatch between the needs of the employers and the skills job seekers have to offer.”

Keeping ‘Overqualifieds’ on Board

Joe Light • Wall Street Journal • November 15, 2010

“Companies that continued to hire during the slump found they were able to nab talented but recently laid-off workers at bargain salaries, or into jobs for which they were overqualified. Now, as the job market slowly loosens up—and those overqualified hires become more frustrated—some of them are considering greener pastures.”

Study: Women with high job stress face heart risks

Marilynn Marchione • Associated Press • November 14, 2010

“Women with demanding jobs and little control over how to do them were nearly twice as likely to have suffered a heart attack as women with less demanding jobs and more control. The high-stress group had a 40 percent greater overall risk of heart problems, including heart attacks, strokes or clogged arteries needing bypass surgery or an artery-opening angioplasty procedure.”

Uncommon incentives keep workers motivated

Kimberly Lifton • Detroit Free Press • November 14, 2010

“Microsoft also offers elder care services and additional family, parenting and stay-fit benefits. New fathers get paid leave for four weeks; mothers who give birth get eight weeks of paid maternity leave. Employees get $800 annually to be used for a gym membership or home fitness equipment. There are flexible work hours, adoption assistance, telecommuting options, job sharing, tuition assistance and generous matching charitable donations for each employee.”

Blogs

Under Pressure: The Great American Work/Life Speed-Up for Men and Women

Melissa J. Anderson • Glass Hammer • November 16, 2010

“What can we do? How can we make workplaces better suited toward today’s work/family needs? Williams said, ‘When we talk about work/family conflict, we talk about professional women opting out – but often they are pushed out, because of all-or-nothing workplaces. But we rarely talk about class. Less well-to-do men and women are one sick child away from being fired.’”

Great Review of “Work+Life” By Vacation Counts

Cali Yost • Work+Life Fit Blog • November 15, 2010

“Today when you say that you have no work-life balance, most people assume that you are working too hard and want to work less.  In very simple terms this implies ‘good’ for employee, ‘bad’ for employer.  Of course the reality is that most overworked Americans clock not just too many hours per week but also fail to use the limited number of vacation days they have earned to take (much deserved) time off from work each year.”

Putt Off Retirement

Maya MacGuineas • New York Times - Room for Debate • November 14, 2010

“Gradually pushing up the retirement ages (currently 65 for Medicare, and 66 for Social Security — headed slowly to 67) to 68 and then indexing them to life expectancy would generate hundreds of billions in savings over the next few decades.  As we live longer, we have to work longer.”

Welcome to The Jungle

Kyle Stock • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • November 14, 2010

“When the term ‘work-life balance’ comes up, people generally picture things like telecommuting, flex-time and how to deal with that perennially buzzing Blackberry at a kid’s soccer game.  I picture this image, right.  That bird – an Egyptian plover – is eating leeches and other parasites in the crocodile’s mouth.”

Parents Are Junkies

Shankar Vedantam • Slate • November 12, 2010

“If parenthood were as subjectively awful as the objective research implies, wouldn’t all parents stop at one child? It’s one thing to claim that a stubbed toe doesn’t hurt, and quite another to aim a second kick at the chair.”

Global News

More women to work past pension age

Author Unlisted • Press Association, UK • November 16, 2010

“Twice as many women as men expect to have to continue working past the state pension age, research has indicated.  One in five people aged over 50 think they will remain employed once they can claim their state pension, with the average person expecting to continue working for just over six years, according to life insurer Liverpool Victoria.”

Going Dutch

Jessica Olien • Slate • November 15, 2010

“I worry about my career incessantly. I take daily stock of its trajectory and make vicious mental critiques of my endeavors. And I know—based on weekly phone conversations with friends in the United States—that my masochistic drive for success is widely shared among my female friends. Meanwhile, the Dutch women around me take a lackadaisical approach to their careers. They work half days, meet their friends for coffee at 2 p.m., and pity their male colleagues who are stuck in the office all day.”

Welfare reform: government backs system of working in ‘slivers of time’

Nicholas Watt • Guardian, UK • November 14, 2010

“Lord Freud and Maria Miller, the welfare ministers, are examining changes to benefit rules to allow people to sign up for work for as little as two hours a week under the slivers of time initiative.  The government’s decision to throw its weight behind the pioneering system comes as Tesco announces it is to throw open a slivers of time scheme to its 340,000-strong workforce. From today, any Tesco employee will be able to sign up for overtime for modest or longer periods of time at their workplace or at any Tesco store in their area.”