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?

April 13, 2010

Articles

Jobless dropouts head back to school for basic skills

Christopher Connell • Washington Post • April 13, 2010

“About 1 million adult students are in basic literacy and math classes, 1 million are taking English as a second language, and 300,000 are dropouts seeking their GEDs. Some take classes at night while working during the day, often at low pay.”

Chamber's flexibility draws raves

Patricia Montemurri • Detroit Free Press • April 13, 2010

“The Detroit Regional Chamber got a shout-out recently from the White House. The chamber’s success with a flexible work schedule for its employees was cited in a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, issued two weeks ago to coincide with a summit convened by President Barack Obama to highlight workplace flexibility.  Since instituting flexible work options in 2000, the Detroit Chamber says it has reduced employee turnover, and increased employee retention rates from 75% to almost 90%.”

Jobs Aren't Finite, But Investment Is

John Tamny • Forbes • April 12, 2010

“Now, with U.S. unemployment still abnormally high, liberal economist Dean Baker has teamed up with conservative economist Kevin Hassett to present the most modern of Luddite concepts to politicians, something called ‘work sharing.’”

The future of American jobs

Robert Reich • Salon • April 12, 2010

“The only way many of today’s jobless are likely to retain their jobs or get new ones is by settling for much lower wages and benefits. The official unemployment numbers hide the extent to which American workers are already on this downward path. But if you look at income data you’ll see the drop.  Among those with jobs, more and more have accepted lower pay and benefits as a condition for keeping them. [. . .] Or they have become consultants or temporary workers whose pay is unsteady and benefits nonexistent.”

Breast-feeding moms get a break

Erin Grace • Omaha World-Herald • April 11, 2010

“The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively breast-feed for six months and combine breast milk with soft foods until babies are a year old.
Yet breast-feeding rates fall off a cliff by the time an infant turns 3 months old. Not coincidentally, that’s when working mothers run out of time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.  Some women in lower-paying, service-oriented positions either don’t ask for the time to pump or are denied it, said Diane Rosenthal, coordinator of the Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program at the Charles Drew Health Center near North 30th and Grant Streets.”

Work-sharing could work for us

Dean Baker and Kevin Hassett • Los Angeles Times • April 5, 2010

“With the nation’s unemployment rate still hovering close to 10%—more than 12% in California—and the typical unemployment spell stretching to 20 months, politicians of both parties are rightly looking for ideas to improve labor market conditions. This recession clearly threatens to do permanent damage to the careers of a generation of workers, and policy action is urgent.  After surveying policies around the world, we found that there is one that clearly dominates in terms of impact and cost-effectiveness: work-sharing.”

Blogs

Why Don't Women Earn as Much as Men?

Michelle Gerdes • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • April 13, 2010

“For example, in 2008, the typical American woman working at least 35 hours a week, year-round, earned 77.1% of what the typical American man did–fuel for those that say there is a pronounced gap.  But change the participants to those working 40 hours a week or more, and the gap narrows, with women earning 87% of what men did. Not anything to celebrate, but certainly better than the 77.1% figure.”

Why Focusing on the Gender Pay Gap Misses the Point

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox • HarvardBusiness Blogs - The Conversation • April 12, 2010

“The real issue isn’t salaries. That is a symptom of a deeper issue: a massive corporate mis-adaptation to today’s talent realities and the subsequent inability to retain and develop women as well as men. I call this ‘gender asbestos.’ It’s hidden in the walls, cultures and mindsets of many organizations. But ridding the structure of the toxins will require more than pointing accusingly at the mess. It requires a detailed plan for how to move forward — and a compelling, attractive portrait of the result.”

Working Smart for the Money

Richard Florida • Atlantic - National • April 9, 2010

“A new study (PDF) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides important insight on states where workers toil the longest hours and make the most money. The study by Dante DeAntonio uses data from the Current Employment Statistics—a monthly survey of more than 400,000 U.S. business establishments—to provide estimates for employment, hours, and earnings for all 50 U.S. states.”

OPM's latest workplace experiments

Steve Kelman • Federal Computer Week - Lectern • April 8, 2010

“John Berry, the head of the Office of Personnel Management, is proving to be one of the loudest voices in the Obama administration (along with Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra) to champion management innovation. [. . .] The experiment, called the Results-Only Work Environment, is based on an approach first tried at the headquarters of electronics retailer Best Buy. (Nice to be looking for private-sector examples that might help government work better.)”

Global News

It's men who are increasingly left holding the baby

Jamie Doward • Guardian, UK • April 11, 2010

“A more complex and interesting question, though, is: what is a stay-at-home-dad? The generic phrase masks a multitude of motivations. Northeast, who combines looking after his children with working from home, an increasingly popular option for many men who nevertheless are not recognised as stay-at-home-dads, suggests that, if there really are 600,000 of them out there now, they will have 600,000 different reasons for having arrived at their decision.”

General Election 2010: Labour to offer a month of leave for new fathers

Andrew Porter • Telegraph, UK • April 10, 2010

“The extension of the current two weeks’ parental leave will be announced on Monday when Gordon Brown unveils the policies he hopes can turn around Labour’s fortunes. The so-called ‘Father’s Month’ is the most striking of the many ‘family-friendly’ measures included in the 10-chapter manifesto. The document states: ‘We have already increased paid maternity leave to nine months. We will now introduce a new Father’s Month of four weeks of paid leave over the first year of the baby’s life.’”