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 5, 2010


'Sick and tired' of Wal-Mart's sick-day policy

Lisa Owad • Medill Reports, IL • March 4, 2010

“As part of a national week of action against Wal-Mart’s sick leave policy, community activists gathered Wednesday at Chicago’s only Wal-Mart to protest.”

Young Professors Say a Successful Career Should Not Require Long Hours

Robin Wilson • Chronicle of Higher Education • March 4, 2010

“In conversations with a dozen faculty members, researchers with a project on work-life issues run by Harvard University have found that ‘Generation X’ professors value efficiency over ‘face time’ and believe that quality is more important than quantity in academic work. [. . .] The Generation X professors said they did not want to be holed up in their campus offices until 11 p.m., and talked about the ‘diminishing returns’ of working too many hours.”

Starting Over at 55

Steven Greenhouse • New York Times • March 4, 2010

“’I’m having a ball,’ she said. ‘I can set up my own hours and work schedule, and do other things I enjoy.’  More than five million Americans age 55 or older run their own businesses or are otherwise self-employed, according to the Small Business Administration. And the number of self-employed people ages 55 to 64 is soaring, the agency says, climbing 52 percent from 2000 to 2007.”

'Boomer$' aim to break glass ceiling

Matt Lauer • NBC - Today Show • March 4, 2010

“NBC’s Tom Brokaw takes a look at [. . .] two Xerox executives who have been on the front line in the battle of changing America’s attitude about women in the workplace.” [Follow the link on the page to access the video.]

Is working from home the new calling in sick?

Leanne Italie • Associated Press • March 3, 2010

“The swine flu epidemic had employers desperately trying to keep sick workers at bay, calling into question companies that didn’t. But the economic meltdown has stepped up pressure on worker bees and bosses alike to produce from home rather than heal in bed, said Dave Couper, a career coach and corporate human resources consultant in Los Angeles. [. . .] The self-employed — those with access to technology and connectivity anyway — and employees in small companies with fewer prospective subs really feel the squeeze with the sneeze.”

Small business makes for a big job

Cindy Krischer Goodman • Miami Herald • March 2, 2010

“Boo Zamek was a mother of two young children when she started a business from her home two years ago publishing a community e-newsletter. She wanted the same things many of us want when we turn to self-employment—prosperity and a work-life that is truly one’s own. What she got was all of that and a few bags under her eyes that she calls her badge of honor.”


What Labor Productivity and Costs Mean for Employment

Daniel Indiviglio • Atlantic - Business • March 4, 2010

“Labor productivity grew by another 6.9%, while labor costs fell by 5.9% in the fourth quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With output increasing but unemployment still high, this news shouldn’t be shocking. But it does provide some indication that employers may be at a breaking point in terms of how much effort they can squeeze out of workers. What does today’s data mean for employment?”

“I am not a health care expert, so I can’t comment on what health care reform should look like.  However, I am a work+life flexibility expert who studies this issue from many different perspectives everyday.  And there is one thing that I know for sure:  What ‘work’ looks like over the course of a career is only going to continue to become more flexible and non-linear. Therefore, the current employer-based health care coverage delivery system is unsustainable.”

The Economic Consequences of Breastfeeding

Ruth Mantell • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • March 3, 2010

“There is a negative effect of breastfeeding on women’s employment status, says Phyllis Rippeyoung, assistant professor of sociology at Acadia University and co-author of a working paper about the economic consequences of breastfeeding.”

Hidden Gems of the Workplace?

Liz Kofman • True/Slant - Work.Life • March 3, 2010

“About nine years into full-time motherhood, Cohen started to get restless. So what was a smart woman with a nearly decade-long resume gap to do? Why relaunch a career at Bain Capital, of course! From there, Cohen switched gears once again, co-founding iRelaunch, a company that provides career reentry programming for employers, universities, organizations, and individuals.”

How Women Saved Social Security

Casey B. Mulligan • New York Times - Economix • March 3, 2010

“One of the great advances of 20th century was increased life expectancy. This advance might have bankrupted Social Security, if it were not for women in the work force.”

Global News

Longer paternity leave for new fathers could benefit us all

James Caan • Telegraph, UK • March 5, 2010

“There’s been much speculation recently about the positive and negative affects of Labour’s increased paternity plans. Rather than receiving one to two weeks’ time off, fathers may soon have the right to up to six months’ statutory paternity leave, using the mother’s assigned time off. One school of thought is adamant that the right to time off will benefit millions of families; while the other believes it will have a devastating effect on business, particularly small and medium businesses.”

Do working mums make healthy children?

Clare Murphy • BBC News • March 4, 2010

“Her study - Do working mothers raise couch potatoes? - concluded that apparently they do if they work more than 34 hours a week, struggling to find the time for family cooking and activities. [. . .] The findings are the latest in the steady flow of contradictory information on the effects on child wellbeing of the mass movement of mothers into the labour market over recent decades - in the UK some 60% of women with children under five work.”