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 19, 2010

Articles

Teleworking legislation is good news for budgets and workers

Joe Davidson • Washington Post • November 19, 2010

“At last.  After tons of paper, vats of ink and who knows how many meetings and conferences on a seemingly simple subject, Congress has given final approval to legislation promoting telework for federal employees.”

One family’s plunge from the middle class into poverty

Wil Haygood • Washington Post • November 19, 2010

“The Census Bureau recently reported that the poverty rate in the United States rose to 14.3 percent last year, the highest level in more than 50 years.  Texas and Florida saw the most people fall below the line. In Florida alone, 323,000 people became newly poor last year, bringing the state’s poverty total to 2.7 million.  The numbers tell another tale as well: Nationwide, in black households such as Walker’s, income plunged an average of 4.4 percent in 2009, almost three times the drop among whites. The number of blacks living below the official poverty line - $21,756 for a family of four - increased by 7 percent in just one year.”

Opinion: Work-Life Balance Is a Myth

Regen Horchow Fearon • AOL News • November 19, 2010

“Many businesses, large and small, are to be commended for being innovative with policies that foster work-life balance. I agree that we’ve come a long way in even acknowledging the need for work-life balance. However, I’d like to suggest that work-life balance is a myth.”

Jobless-Benefits Bill Rejected

Janet Hook and Martin Vaughan • Wall Street Journal • November 19, 2010

“House Republicans Thursday torpedoed a bill to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed, pressing their demand that the $12 billion cost of continuing the program be offset rather than adding to the deficit.  In a defeat for Democrats trying to keep the program from expiring Nov. 30, the House rejected a bill to continue the program for three more months.”

AP Exclusive: Raising retirement age hurts poor

Author Unlisted • Associated Press • November 18, 2010

“Raising the retirement age for Social Security would disproportionately hurt low-income workers and minorities, and increase disability claims by older people unable to work, government auditors told Congress.  The projected spike in disability claims could harm Social Security’s finances because disability benefits typically are higher than early retirement payments, the Government Accountability Office concluded.”

Who Needs Marriage? How an American Institution Is Changing

Belinda Luscombe • Time • November 18, 2010

“This fall the Pew Research Center, in association with TIME, conducted a nationwide poll exploring the contours of modern marriage and the new American family, posing questions about what people want and expect out of marriage and family life, why they enter into committed relationships and what they gain from them. What we found is that marriage, whatever its social, spiritual or symbolic appeal, is in purely practical terms just not as necessary as it used to be. Neither men nor women need to be married to have sex or companionship or professional success or respect or even children — yet marriage remains revered and desired.”

Teleworkers happier than those in office

Author Unlisted • UPI • November 17, 2010

“Kathryn Fonner of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Michael Roloff of Northwestern University say workers who telework at least three days a week benefit from the flexible work arrangement to accommodate family life—while alienation from workplace communication, often cited as the biggest telecommuting disadvantage, was minimal, the study’s participants said.”

Blogs

Stranger Than Fiction

Jesse Ellison • Newsweek - Equality Myth • November 18, 2010

“On Friday, Made in Dagenham, a new film about a group of British women who successfully stood up to sexist labor practices at Ford Motors in the U.K., will hit U.S. theaters. And on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate failed to end debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Called a ‘commonsense law’ by President Obama, the bill would have strengthened anti-discriminatory laws put in place by the Equal Pay Act, protected employees from being fired for asking about their colleagues’ compensation, and created negotiation-skills training programs for girls and women.”

The Other Side of Performance Metrics?

Elizabeth Harrin • Glass Hammer • November 18, 2010

“But what would happen if we scrapped the insistence on measuring time spent at the desk and focused solely on results? Surely the working world would be a happier place, with employees judged and rewarded on their contributions, and able to go home early if they meet their objectives before 5pm. Unfortunately, there are also issues that come with adopting this type of working culture.”

Happy Housewives

Jessica Grose • Slate - Double X • November 18, 2010

“There are many words one could use to accurately describe Palin’s current status [. . .] but housewife, a woman whose main occupation is taking care of her home and children, is not one of them. Does the term have any meaning at all anymore?”

The Volunteer Vortex

Mary Curlew • Sloan Work and Family Blog • November 17, 2010

“Despite this parent’s proclamation, working moms are volunteering more today than in the past. According to Volunteering in America, the volunteer rate is the highest since 2005 (26.8%). This increase is due in part to an increase in volunteers who are female (30.1%, up from 29.4% in 2008) and parents (34.4%, up from 33.8% in 2008). Although much has been written about the need to realign the 21st century workforce to meet modern demographics, I have not seen much literature on the issue of volunteerism and working parents.”

Dutch Women and Part-Time Work

Matthew Yglesias • ThinkProgress - Yglesias • November 16, 2010

“So to return to Olien’s article, I think it would be a mistake to say that Dutch women are happy because so few of them are involved in full-time work. I would say instead that most Dutch women are happy because Dutch people enjoy an extremely high material standard of living (you should really see what passes for a slum in the Netherlands, it’s absurd) and that this reflects itself in part via women’s disinclination to toil for long hours in jobs they don’t find rewarding.”

Global News

Working life should end at 60, survey finds

Simoney Girardi • Financial Times - Financial Adviser • November 18, 2010

“The study of 2000 over-50s across the UK showed that 41 per cent of those retired and those still employed believe that work life should end at 60.”