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?

May 25, 2010


More Workers Start to Quit

Joe Light • Wall Street Journal • May 25, 2010

“In February, the number of employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Before February, the BLS had recorded more layoffs than resignations for 15 straight months, the first such streak since the bureau started tracking the data a decade ago. Since the BLS began tracking the data, the average number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs per month has been about 2.7 million. But since October 2008, the average number dropped to as low as 1.72 million. In March, it was about 1.87 million.”

More older Americans start own business

Laura Petrecca • USA Today • May 25, 2010

“The number of self-employed Americans rose to 8.9 million in December 2009, up from 8.7 million a year earlier, according to BLS data provided by outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. Self-employment among those 55 to 64 hit nearly 2 million, a 5% rise from the prior year. Self-employment for those 65 and older hit 939,000 — a 29% increase.”

Cuts to Child Care Subsidy Thwart More Job Seekers

Peter S. Goodman • New York Times • May 23, 2010

“Despite a substantial increase in federal support for subsidized child care, which has enabled some states to stave off cuts, others have trimmed support, and most have failed to keep pace with rising demand, according to poverty experts and federal officials.  That has left swelling numbers of low-income families struggling to reconcile the demands of work and parenting, just as they confront one of the toughest job markets in decades.”

Families’ Every Fuss, Archived and Analyzed

Benedict Carey • New York Times • May 22, 2010

“At a conference here this month, more than 70 social scientists gathered to bring to a close one of the most unusual, and oddly voyeuristic, anthropological studies ever conceived. From 2002 to 2005, before reality TV ruled the earth, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, laboriously recruited 32 local families, videotaping nearly every waking, at-home moment during a week — including the Jacket Standoff. [. . .] But the U.C.L.A. project was an effort to capture a relatively new sociological species: the dual-earner, multiple-child, middle-class American household.”

When Retirement Is Not an Option

Rick Wartzman • BusinessWeek • May 21, 2010

“’Employing organizations—and by no means only businesses—should start as soon as possible to experiment with new work relationships with older people and especially with older knowledge workers,’ Drucker wrote in his 1999 book, Management Challenges for the 21st Century. ‘The organization that first succeeds in attracting and holding knowledge workers past traditional retirement age, and makes them fully productive, will have a tremendous competitive advantage.’”


Senate passes telework bill

Joe Davidson • Washington Post - Federal Eye • May 24, 2010

“The Senate passed legislation Monday that would make it easier for federal workers to work from home. The Telework Enhancement Act, sponsored by Sens. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), would create the assumption in agencies that employees are eligible to telework.”

The Politics of an Aging Population

Bruce Bartlett • Capital Gains and Games • May 23, 2010

“The Census Bureau has just issued a new report on the rapid aging of the U.S. population. There’s a lot of good data and graphs in it, but I want to focus on just one implication right now: the political impact of an aging society.  First let’s look at the data. According to Census, 27.1 percent of the population is currently under age 20, 59.9 percent is between 20 and 64, and 13.0 percent is 65 or older. By 2020, the under-65 share will fall by 3.1 percent and the 65 and over share will rise to 16.1 percent of the population. In raw numbers, the number of those 65 or over will rise by 14.5 million persons.”

Work-Life Balancing Act? Congress Says ‘No’ on Safety Net

Sarah Wildman • Politics Daily - Woman Up • May 21, 2010

“The New America conference last week was a bit of an ‘OK, what now?’ moment. For all the new energy around the issue, Congress doesn’t appear to be paying close attention to this massive social shift. ‘Flexible policies make employees more, not less, productive,’ Katie Corrigan, director of Georgetown University Law Center’s Workplace Flexibility 2010, told the crowd. And yet, she noted, there is a ‘disconnect’ between the reality of flexible work and the legislation on the ground.”

The Everyday Struggle of Working Moms

Dr. Alyssa Berlin • Huffington Post • May 21, 2010

“There is no balancing act quite like juggling the responsibilities of a working mother. The incessant needs of the growing family multiplied by the demands of excelling in any workplace can be challenging. Many working moms would strongly prefer to stay home and focus solely on the full-time challenges that come with the job as a stay-at-home-mom.”

Global News

Queen’s Speech: ‘Flexible working for all’ plan

Author Unlisted • BBC, UK • May 25, 2010

“All employees could eventually have a right to request working flexible hours, under plans by the government.  The Queen’s Speech and the coalition programme mentioned plans to ‘remove barriers’ and “extend” the rights of flexible working. At present, parents and carers of disabled adults are allowed to ask their employers for convenient hours.”

Baby Gap: Germany’s Birth Rate Hits Historic Low

Tristana Moore • Time • May 23, 2010

“To explain Germany’s low reproduction rate, Steffen Kröhnert, a social scientist at the Berlin Institute for Population Development, points to a number of factors. Many German women decide not to have children because of poor state-run child-care facilities. Most schools in Germany finish earlier than in other parts of Europe — some as early as 1 p.m. — leaving parents struggling to find and afford sufficient day care. And often women who take up part-time jobs to try to juggle work and family life end up paying a high financial price. ‘Many German women have to stop work and end their careers if they want to have kids,’ says Kröhnert. It doesn’t help that German mothers are still often branded Rabenmütter — ‘raven mothers’ — a pejorative label that accuses them of being bad mothers if they decide to put their children in nurseries and continue working.”

The work-life lie: family-friendly jobs a myth

Paul Bibby • Sydney Morning Herald • May 22, 2010

“THE claim that working hours are becoming more family-friendly is a myth, new figures suggest, with Australian workers having less opportunity to negotiate flexible work arrangements than they did the best part of a decade ago.  Repeated promises of greater flexibility for working families were a characteristic of both the former Howard government’s Work Choices policies and Labor’s Fair Work alternative, but data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the proportion of workers with any choice over their hours has remained stubbornly low.”