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?

March 23, 2010

Articles

Graduate students juggle parenthood with academic politics

Jenna Johnson • Washington Post • March 22, 2010

“At colleges and universities across the country, many graduate students who have babies work until their due dates and return soon after giving birth. If they don’t, they risk getting kicked off projects, falling out of favor with powerful faculty members and losing their student status, which is often required for visas, health insurance plans and student loan grace periods.”

Patricia Kempthorne: A Visionary For Families

Author Unlisted • KIVI Today's 6: Idaho's News • March 22, 2010

“In 2005, Patricia started the Twiga Foundation. (Twiga is giraffe in Swahili.) Patricia says her life passion is being realized, as she promotes families first through workplace flexibility. That could mean anything from job sharing, to non traditional work environments, to more part time schedules.”

Best companies for working moms

Author Unlisted • Public Radio International - The Tavis Smiley Show • March 22, 2010

“Since 1976, when the US Census started tracking the data, the number of mothers in the workplace has doubled.  Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, says while women have taken on more and more responsibility at work, their responsibilities at home haven’t changed with the times. [. . .] Evans says one of the biggest challenges for working moms is maternity leave. In the US, paid maternity leave is not mandated by the government, and women are at the mercy of what their employers are able and willing to provide.”

Cassidy: When family calls there is only one answer

Mike Cassidy • San Jose Mercury News • March 22, 2010

“It is a tough spot to be in. There are few bloodier battles than work versus family. But it rages daily in countless households. Sometimes it’s who stays home with the kids. Other times it’s who stays home with the parents. About one in five U.S. workers say they are taking care of an elderly person and more than twice that say they’ve done so in the past five years, according to the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit that studies work/life issues.”

The Part-Time Bind

Sharon Lerner • American Prospect • March 22, 2010

“It’s easy to see how mothers wind up out of the workplace. Sometimes, a lack of maternity leave turns the birth of a child into an all-or-nothing proposition: Leave the tiny baby before you’re ready to, or quit your job. Or the child-care options are so dismal, nothing feels right. And, of course, many women simply prefer to be with their children.  But what’s less obvious—or less talked about, anyway—is what happens to women once they do leave work. To whatever degree mothers who leave work for home choose to do so, they often find themselves in dire financial straits.”

More women holding down multiple jobs

Eve Tahmincioglu • MSNBC • March 21, 2010

“It’s one of the stark realities of today’s job market. Good-paying jobs are being lost, and many aren’t being replaced. As a result, some workers are finding they need more than one job to make ends meet — or at least keep up their standard of living, said Ellen Ernst Kossek, a human resource professor at Michigan State University’s School of Labor & Industrial Relations.  About 7 million Americans are working two or more jobs today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women are more likely to juggle multiple gigs than men, representing more than half of the total at 3.7 million.”

How To Make Shift Work Family Friendly

Jennifer Ludden • NPR - Morning Edition • March 17, 2010

“Work-life experts say cases like Underwood’s happen a lot because of the unpredictability so many low-wage and hourly workers face: schedules posted just days in advance, rotating schedules, unexpected overtime some days, while other days they can show up only to be told business is slow, they should go back home — without pay.”

House Chairs Introduce Bill to Recognize Family Friendly Workplaces

Author Unlisted • U.S. House of Representatives - Committee on Education and Labor • March 17, 2010

“U.S. Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA), today introduced legislation to recognize workplaces that provide employees the ability to achieve work-life balance. [. . .] The Work-Life Balance Award Act of 2010 (H.R. 4855) would establish an annual ‘Work-Life Balance Award’ within the Department of Labor that would recognize employers with exemplary work-life balance policies.”

Blogs

Will Health Insurance Reform Spur Entrepreneurship?

Megan McArdle • Atlantic - Business • March 23, 2010

“I’ve heard a lot of arguments that health care reform will increase the rate of entrepreneurship.  Most of them go along the lines of this piece from Jonathan Gruber: lack of an alternative source of health insurance creates ‘job lock’, where employees are afraid to switch jobs.  The better your recourse to alternate insurance, the more likely you are to be self-employed.  It’s certainly a plausible story.  And certainly, the number of people who wish to start businesses, but are held back by the health insurance problem, cannot be zero.  The question is, is that number actually large?”

A new jobs crisis on the horizon

Barry Bluestone • Salon • March 23, 2010

“Today, with unemployment nearing 10 percent, it might seem far-fetched to suggest that we’ll need Rosie’s equivalent before the end of this decade. Yet, as the economy begins to recover, we will almost certainly see shortages in key occupations—and soon after, the demand for workers could outstrip supply in a broad range of industries, particularly within the so-called ‘social sectors.’  To save the day, we’ll need Rosies for a new era – older women and men willing to work longer in encore careers that shore up critical social and public services.”

Big Changes for Working Parents

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • March 22, 2010

“Some parents who would prefer to work part-time avoid cutting back, because fewer than half of part-timers receive health insurance. Also, while many working parents would like to start their own businesses to gain flexibility, they don’t because health insurance would become so hard to afford. Finally, many parents of college-age kids stick to jobs they don’t like, just to maintain their kids’ coverage amid a shortage of entry-level jobs offering benefits.”

Wake Up, Ivory Tower: We Need You!

Author Unlisted • Mama Bee • March 18, 2010

“Earlier this week NPR ran a three-part series on how companies are changing their business models to accomodate new work life strategies.  It was interesting — though could only scratch the surface of the issues.  In response to the NPR pieces, Kathie Lingle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Work-Life Progress, posted this article on Creating Workplace Flexibility: We’re All in This Together at The Huffington Post.  Hold your hats, work life friends: I have major problems with Lingle’s seemingly innocuous response.  It perpetuates several work life myths that suggest major disconnect between work life advocates, like Lingle, and actual workers.”

Global News

In Germany, a Quota for Female Managers

Tristana Moore • Time • March 22, 2010

“Germany’s boardrooms have long been a cherished male preserve. But that’s about to change at one of the country’s biggest companies, Deutsche Telekom, which has just unveiled a radical new plan to fast-track more women into management roles. By 2015, the company has mandated that 30% of its middle and upper management positions be filled by women — the first gender quota to be implemented at one of Germany’s top 30 DAX-listed companies. [. . .] In order to recruit more women managers, the company says it plans to introduce more flexible working hours and part-time positions, as well as expand its parental leave schemes and child-care services. It has also implemented a new ‘stay in contact’ program, which helps women managers keep in touch with the office while on maternity leave.”

Why most dads won't take up paternity leave offer

Jessica Flynn • WalesOnline - Western Mail • March 18, 2010

“FEWER than one in five dads would take advantage of the offer of six months’ paternity leave, according to a new poll.  Under plans announced by the Government in September, fathers would be able take up to six months’ leave – three of them paid. ut a YouGov survey for mobile phone network Orange found just 18% of men would take up that offer. The main factor preventing 47% of men from taking all the leave was concerns about money – with 27% saying they would not take any time off when the new laws come in to effect from April next year.”