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?

December 3, 2010

Articles

The Employment Situation -- November 2010

• Bureau of Labor Statistics • December 3, 2010

“The unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent … Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs rose by 390,000 to 9.5 million in November. The number of long-term un- employed … was little changed at 6.3 million and accounted for 41.9 percent of the unemployed. … The civilian labor force participation rate held at 64.5 percent in November, and the employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.2 percent.”

Unemployed, and Likely to Stay That Way

Catherine Rampell • New York Times • December 2, 2010

“This country has some of the highest levels of long-term unemployment — out of work longer than six months — it has ever recorded. Meanwhile, job growth has been, and looks to remain, disappointingly slow, indicating that those out of work for a while are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Even if the government report on Friday shows the expected improvement in hiring by business, it will not be enough to make a real dent in those totals.”

Teleworkers experience lower amounts of stress, study finds

Author Unlisted • Federal Computer Week • December 1, 2010

“The main benefit reported by participants who telework at least three days a week is the decreased work-life conflict that a flexible work arrangement allows, according to a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The study was reviewed in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Communication Research, which is published by the National Communication Association.”

Hurdles Facing Men Juggling Work, Family

Michel Martin, Host • NPR - Tell Me More • November 30, 2010

“Striking the right balance between raising a family and managing a career is a struggle for many women. But it is increasingly a challenge that many American men face as well. Host Michel Martin speaks with law professor Joan Williams ... about her new book.”

Mullen: Military Workplace Needs More Flexibility

Cheryl Pellerin • U.S. Department of Defense • November 30, 2010

“Taking cues from the business world, military leaders must recognize the plight of servicewomen who must choose between starting a family or continuing a military career, Mullen said. Some, he noted, move to the private sector, where such flexibility is increasingly being accommodated.”

Reports

Family Security Insurance: A New Foundation for Economic Security

• Workplace Flexibility 2010 and Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security • December 2, 2010

“In this report, Workplace Flexibility 2010 at Georgetown Law and the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security at UC Berkeley School of Law propose a new ‘Family Security Insurance’ (FSI) that would reform our current social insurance system to provide for income replacement when people take time off from work for health and caregiving reasons.  This report details the benefits provided under FSI, who would be eligible, how it would be administered, and – importantly – how to pay for it.”

This page contains links to papers presented at the recent Focus on Workplace Flexibility conference. 

Blogs

Intense Parenting Comes at High Cost

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • December 2, 2010

“In a conference address, Kathleen Christensen, program director for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the conference’s sponsor, said the ‘vast majority of workers’ lack flexibility at work to ease stress; those who aren’t able to bend job demands around family needs cut back on such healthy behaviors as exercising or cooking meals from scratch, Dr. Christensen says.”

A Focus on Workplace Flexibility

Tina Tchen • White House Blog • December 2, 2010

“The following day at Georgetown University Law Center, I had the honor to offer the conference’s closing remarks. I took this chance to reiterate the notion that workplace flexibility is not just a ‘women’s issue,’ but rather an issue that affects the well-being of our families, the success of our businesses, and the future of our nation’s economy.  We must change our workplaces to meet the demands of a changing working environment as workplace flexibility is not a luxury, but a competitive imperative. Consequently, greater research in the area of workplace flexibility to overcome the hesitation to its benefits is a must.”

Yawn. Working Moms Awake More Than Dads to Care for Kids at Night

Bonnie Rochman • Time - Healthland • December 2, 2010

“The results didn’t change, even when zeroing in on the parent who brings home the bacon. In those cases, 28% of women who are the sole breadwinner said they awake at night to take care of their children, compared to 4% of men who support their families.”

Taking “family” out of flexibility

Leanne Chase • CareerLife Connection • December 2, 2010

“Those of us who study, consult on and rant about flexibility in the workplace need to take the words ‘family’ ‘women’ ‘kids’ out of the headlines.  We do.  It’s why this is not a universal movement.” 

Women Doctors Flock to Surprising Specialty

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • December 1, 2010

“In an address to a Washington, D.C., conference Tuesday on workplace flexibility, Goldin said that high-paying careers that offer more help in balancing work and family are the ones that end up luring the largest numbers of women. Surprisingly, colon and rectal surgery is one of these, because of rapid growth in routine colonoscopies that can be scheduled in advance, giving doctors control over their time. Goldin says 31% of colon and rectal surgeons under 35 years of age were female in 2007, compared with only 3% of those ages 55 to 64, and 12% of those ages 45 to 54, reflecting the fact that younger women are flocking to the field.”

Delayed Childbearing, More Stressful Lives

Steven Greenhouse • New York Times - Economix • December 1, 2010

“In research based on time diaries, Professor Bianchi found that as American mothers had increased their labor force participation rate, they were devoting fewer hours to housework, but had maintained their hours devoted to childrearing.  The study found that mothers did 22.6 hours of paid work on average in 2008, up from 18.8 in 1985. During that time, mothers increased their time devoted to child care to 13.9 hours a week, from 8.4 in 1985. But they reduced their housework time to 17.4 hours from 20.4 and, according to the time diaries, mothers also reduced their time devoted to grooming — to 8.4 hours per week in 2008 from 12.2 in 1985.”

White House Calls for Progress on Flexible Work

Katherine Lewis • Katherine's Working Moms Blog • December 1, 2010

“The Obama administration has only taken the first steps toward promoting flexible work, said Tina Tchen, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, in remarks to the closing session of the Focus on Workplace Flexibility conference in Washington D.C. yesterday. ‘Our work is far from done,’ Tchen said, calling for academics, nonprofits and the private sector to provide more data on the impact of flexibility and to ‘create a true national movement’ toward flexible work.”

Senator Dodd’s Lasting Legacy to Employment Law: FMLA

Daniel Schwartz • Connecticut Employment Law Blog • December 1, 2010

“As the principal author of the legislation, he helped shape it into a—dare we say—integral part of today’s workplace.  It was a product of negotiation and revision, something that Sen. Dodd notes seems to be lacking in today’s hyper-partisan atmosphere.”

The Graying Work Force

Sherisse Pham • New York Times - The New Old Age • November 30, 2010

“Until recently, working after retirement sounded like an oxymoron. Aren’t those years supposed to be devoted to volunteering, traveling and visiting grandchildren? But a recent report by the Families and Work Institute and Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging and Work found that a growing number of people continue to work for pay following their official ‘retirements.’ And while they may be motivated by money, many like my father are finding their late-life jobs unexpectedly fulfilling.”

Global News

Employers breaking promise of flexibility

Paul Bibby • Sydney Morning Herald, Australia • December 4, 2010

“Flexibility has become a buzzword for employers and recruitment agencies seeking to entice the best and brightest with promises of work-life balance, but in many cases they are failing - or refusing - to deliver.  Figures from the University of Sydney’s Australia at Work survey show the nation has made no progress towards greater flexibility at work.  Over the four-year survey, 40 per cent of the 5000 participants strongly disagreed that they had control over either the number of hours they worked or when they worked them.”

“In particular, family members who care for ageing relatives will face an even greater burden, and will require support, he said.  Over the next 20 years, grown up children are expected to spend 13 per cent more time caring informally for relatives, while demand for such care will soar by 55 per cent.”