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?

February 26, 2010

Articles

Working moms with no commute

Tom Foreman, Reporter • CNN • February 25, 2010

This CNN segment features the workplace flexibility offered by a business in Texas.

Why Are Doctors Working Fewer Hours?

Elyas Bakhtiari • HealthLeaders Media • February 25, 2010

“Between 1977 and 1997, non-resident physicians worked an average of about 55 hours per week, according to a new study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association. From 1998-2008, however, that dropped to about 51 hours per week. [. . .] Decreases in hours were larger for younger physicians, so the lifestyle preferences may have been one of many drivers of the change. But the study authors found a different correlate to the drop in hours: Reimbursement rates.”

Work-share program that cuts hours vs. jobs could grow

Paul Davidson • USA Today • February 25, 2010

“A program that encourages companies to avoid layoffs by reducing workers’ hours could be expanded to nearly half the states this year.  Legislation this year in at least seven states would create work-share programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, growing the initiative for the first time in decades.  Seventeen states already have programs in which employers can cut the hours of all or most employees in lieu of layoffs. The workers get jobless benefits to recover part of their lost wages.”

Leaving in droves

Kathryn Edwards and Heidi Shierholz • Economic Policy Institute • February 24, 2010

“The labor force participation rate for workers age 16-24 has decreased from 59.1% to 54.7% in the 25 months since the recession started, representing a loss of 1.3 million young workers, while the labor force participation rate of workers age 55 and older increased from 38.9% to 39.9%, representing an increase of 2.3 million workers.”

Recession Tactic: The Mini-Shift

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal • February 24, 2010

“Ms. Rice embodies a little-noticed effect of the recession: the incredible shrinking work shift. Cast off by mainstream employers or unable to find the job flexibility they need in a corporate setting, millions of workers are taking multiple part-time or freelance jobs, jumping back and forth repeatedly between work, other pursuits and more work. These weird workaday schedules are creating new time-management and other challenges.”

Advocates again push sick days standard

Mary E. O'Leary • New Haven Register, CT • February 24, 2010

“Advocates for a workplace standard for paid sick days will be back at the state Capitol this week arguing that it is time to finally pass the legislation.  The bill out of the Labor Committee would mandate that businesses with a minimum of 50 employees allow workers to accrue up to five sick days a year. It would apply to workers with as few as 10 hours of employment a week and kick in for full-time workers after a three-month probation.”

Blogs

Underemployed Americans Are Very Discouraged

Daniel Indiviglio • Atlantic - Business • February 25, 2010

“A Gallup poll released this week shows that underemployed Americans in the U.S. are extremely discouraged about finding full-time employment. That underemployed population makes up about 20% of the workforce, according to another recent Gallup poll. They’re defined as those who are ‘either unemployed or work part time but want to work full time.’”

“Today’s news that work-share legislation is gaining steam across the country is very welcome.  However, for organizations, leaders and employees to truly benefit from the more flexible approach to managing costs and resources it must be implemented, review and revised thoughtfully and strategically.”

Pushing Ourselves to the Top of the Corporate Ladder

Author Unlisted • Mama Bee • February 24, 2010

“Blau and Kahn indicate that a much greater piece of the pay gap correlates to job choice — women simply aren’t in the right industries to make it to the corner office.  That suggests that facilitating better on-ramping for women who have left the workforce isn’t the most critical strategy; addressing the problem will need to start much earlier when women are choosing their fields of study and career paths.  It’s a nice idea to structure work so that women can take a year or more off to raise children, but the reality is that no one who has left and returned — male or female — will be as desirable a candidate as a counterpart who has worked through their career.”

FMLA: After 17 Years, It's Time to Take the Next Step

Vicki Shabo • MomsRising Blog • February 24, 2010

“The Family and Medical Leave Act turns 17 today.  At the National Partnership, we are like proud parents. We remember the long fight to pass it, and the moment on February 5, 1993 when we stood beside President Clinton as he made it the very first bill he signed. For the first time, we had a national law to address the challenges facing workers who struggle to meet their job and family commitments.  [. . .] But it was intended as a first step in a national commitment to ensuring that workers are able to meet their responsibilities to their families as well as their employers.  We’ve yet to take the next one.”

Global News

Rise in workers' unpaid overtime

Author Unlisted • Press Association, UK • February 25, 2010

“The number of people working ‘extreme’ levels of unpaid overtime has soared to almost 900,000 in the past year, despite the growth in ‘underemployed’ staff, new research has shown. [. . .] Single women were most likely to do unpaid overtime, the research showed. The report noted that unpaid overtime had increased despite a rise in the number of people classed as underemployed, which counted those wanting to work longer hours.”

Employer maternity leave top-ups rare

Tavia Grant • Globe and Mail, Canada • February 24, 2010

“Few Canadians get extra payments from their employers while on parental leave, even though it appears a useful strategy for retaining workers.  Just one in five mothers on parental leave also got top-up payments from their employers in 2008, a proportion that’s little changed over the past decade, a Statistics Canada paper released Wednesday said.  Of mothers who did get a supplemental income from their workplaces, the average top-up was $300 a week. As a result, employers paid more than $290-million for this discretionary benefit for mothers on leave.”

EU plans longer maternity leave

David Charter • Times, UK • February 24, 2010

“A massive extension of maternity leave across Europe was last night voted for by the Womens’ Rights Committee of the European Parliament to make it compulsory for employers to pay mothers for a minimum of 20 weeks on full pay.  But the move, which would have a dramatic effect in Britain where the first six weeks of maternity leave are currently at 90 per cent of pay, will have to be debated by the full parliament next month and faces stiff opposition from member states before becoming law.”