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 7, 2010

Articles

Federal employees to get leave option to care for relatives

Ed O'Keefe • Washington Post • December 7, 2010

“Federal workers are preparing for a two-year freeze in pay, but they can also expect some positive changes to their sick leave policy in the new year.  Starting Jan. 3, federal workers may swap up to 26 weeks of sick leave for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for family members sick with serious communicable diseases, including the flu. They may also use the benefit to care for an ill or injured family member serving in the military.”

It’s a Wonderful Work-Life Balance

Nacie Carson • Portfolio • December 7, 2010

“While families are out trimming trees and wrapping gifts, many elite managers find themselves pulling longer hours than normal as fiscal years wind down and budget reviews kick into gear.  But taking some time to reassess priorities, delegate responsibility, and manage time effectively can turn even the most Grinch-like boss into someone who can enjoy the holiday season, even if it is just for one silent night.”

Talking up Flexibility

Anne Freedman • Human Resource Executive Online • December 6, 2010

“The voices advocating workplace-flexibility programs have grown substantially over the decade—in number and prestige.  At a Focus on Workplace Flexibility Conference, held at Georgetown Law School in Washington last week, officials from the White House, Pentagon, Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Internal Revenue Service, academia and corporate America all spoke in favor of the concept—whether they called it work/life balance, work/life fit or work/life integration.”

The Sick-Day Bounty Hunters

Eric Spitznagel • BusinessWeek • December 2, 2010

“Raymond has come to occupy a new and expanding niche in the surveillance universe. Corporations pay him to spy on workers who take ‘sick days’ when they may not, in fact, be sick. [. . .] Such techniques have become permissible at a time when workers are more likely to play hooky. Kronos, a workforce productivity firm in Chelmsford, Mass., recently found that 57 percent of U.S. salaried employees take sick days when they’re not really sick—a nearly 20 percent increase from statistics gathered between 2006 and 2008.”

Blogs

M.B.A.’s Have Biggest ‘Mommy Penalty,’ Doctors the Smallest

Steven Greenhouse • New York Times - Economix • December 6, 2010

“Among highly educated women who take time off from their careers to raise their children, women with M.B.A.’s suffer the largest percentage “mommy penalty,” while those with medical degrees suffer the lowest proportionate loss, with female Ph.D.’s and lawyers falling somewhere in between.  That’s one central finding of a study, ‘The Career Cost of Family,’ written by two Harvard economics professors, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, that was released last week at a major conference on workplace flexibility.”

Is Working Moms Guilt an American Phenomenon?

Katherine Lewis • Katherine's Working Moms Blog • December 6, 2010

“Are American mothers alone in experiencing working moms guilt? The question arose as the result of a fascinating conversation I had with Tami Kremer-Sadlik, director of research at the Center on Everyday Lives of Families at the University of California, Los Angeles, during last week’s Focus on Workplace Flexibility conference at Georgetown University Law Center.”

When Demands of the Job Wear You Out

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • December 6, 2010

“Of course, as with many executive or political departures, there might eventually be more to the story than simply fatigue. But it is refreshing to hear a top executive acknowledge that running a huge, global company 24/7 is exhausting, especially as many senior officials often appear to be super-human automatons that seemingly don’t need sleep or downtime or have personal lives outside of work.”

Participation Rate of 25 to 54 Age Men at Record Low

Author Unlisted • CalculatedRisk • December 4, 2010

“However one of the key trends has been the decline in the participation rate of men - and that is continuing. [. . .] The participation rate for men in this key demographic fell to a record low 88.8% in November.”

The Admiral, Half Days and Laundry

Chrysula Winegar • CW • December 2, 2010

“It has long been my goal to remind ordinary people searching for some flexibility in their lives that there is an abundance of data showing repeatedly the financial and social benefits of workplace flexibility.  Especially when it is done with consultation, training, vision and measurement.  Hours of discussion with work life researchers earlier this week cemented what we know.  What we’ve known for 15+ years.”

Sneaking Out of the Office

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

“When an assembly-line worker at a Midwestern auto-parts plant studied by Alford A. Young Jr., a sociology professor at the University of Michigan, left work without permission to coach his son’s football team in a championship game, he paid a high price, Young told about 200 researchers, government officials and employers Tuesday at a Washington, D.C. conference on flexibility.  The story sprang from a study of the means employees use to resolve work-family conflicts–collaborating with the boss vs. sneaking around.”

Global News

EU ministers reject 20-week maternity leave plan

Author Unlisted • BBC, UK • December 7, 2010

“The social affairs ministers voiced concern about the cost of the 20-week minimum that the European Parliament voted for in October.  Minimum maternity leave in the EU is currently 14 weeks. The European Commission has proposed extending it to 18 weeks, to improve work-life balance.  No deal is expected before next year.”

Most children living in poverty are not from workless households, report finds

Karen McVeigh • Guardian, UK • December 6, 2010

“The number of children of working parents who are living in poverty in the UK has risen to an unprecedented 2.1 million, a report has found.  A report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that while the number of impoverished children dropped overall to 3.7 million, the majority are now from homes where a parent or carer is working, accounting for 58% of the total.”