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?

May 7, 2010

Articles

‘Babies’ makes the infant a wildlife documentary subject

Rachel Abramowitz • Los Angeles Times • May 7, 2010

“By contrast, Balmès felt the most sympathy for the Japanese child, Mari, whose personality seems the most muted, in part he suggests, because of how she must live in a tiny space. ‘The Japanese way of living is not designed for a child. People are working like hell in Tokyo, very long hours, seven days a week. The situation with Mari is that her parents are almost workaholic people. You can feel that. Even when the parents are there, they’re not really there. You see her in a 20-square-foot meeting room in [day care] which is filled with 10 to 15 other babies with three nurses for eight hours. It’s not easy to develop yourself surrounded by so little space.’”

Work-life balance? Yeah, right.

Beth Teitell • Boston Globe • May 6, 2010

“Oh, work-life balance, you elusive goal. You, with your promise of happiness and fulfillment, taunting, out of reach, like world peace, or the perfect haircut. If only we had you, we’d be better mothers, workers, wives, friends. Zen.”

Meet the Unemployable Man

David Wessel • Wall Street Journal • May 6, 2010

“Yet nothing in the textbooks says that the supply and demand for workers will intersect at a wage that is socially acceptable. At the high end, demand for skilled workers and those who rely on their brains will return when the economy does. At the other end, jobs in restaurants, nursing homes and health clubs—the jobs that are hard to automate or outsource—will come back, too.  In the middle, there will be some jobs for workers without much education, for the plumbers, electricians and software technicians. But not enough to go around.“

Federal employees’ work-life balance is still on shaky ground

Joe Davidson • Washington Post • May 5, 2010

“When it comes to helping federal employees develop a good balance between work and personal lives, Uncle Sam talks a good game, but his actions fall short.  Witnesses at a congressional hearing Tuesday agreed on the need for greater flexible work arrangements in the government. But many also agreed that although the government has made important steps in the right direction, it is moving too slowly and is meeting too much resistance from within.“

Blogs

Wages and Hours Are Up

David Leonhardt • New York Times - Economix • May 7, 2010

“Besides the healthy gain in jobs, today’s employment report had other good news, too.  The average length of the workweek increased, to 34.1 hours, from 34 hours. It hit a low of 33.7 in October.  Pay is rising, too. [. . .] Not every detail in the report was positive. The number of part-time workers who want to be working full-time rose about 100,000, to 9.15 million.”

Telework bill fails in the House; Senate delays action

Ed O'Keefe • Washington Post - Federal Eye • May 6, 2010

“Federal workers will have to wait a bit longer for the option to work from home, as the House failed to pass a bill that would have expanded telework options across the government.  The House voted mostly along party lines on Thursday and failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to proceed on the measure. A Senate version remains pending. Though slightly different, the bills essentially require federal agencies to appoint telework managing officers to oversee new policies developed by each agency and the Office of Personnel Management.”

If Companies Really Mean Business on Work and Family Issues…

Dr. Jody Heymann • Huffington Post • May 6, 2010

“President Obama and the First Lady recently hosted a White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. It was an important event focused on best practices, but the real challenge facing the nation is to go from best practices that benefit a few to decent working conditions for all. The missing piece of the puzzle is for corporate leaders to really work with policymakers to ensure that all Americans have decent working conditions.”

Working Moms: It’s the System That’s Crazy, Not You

Nancy Shute • U.S. News and World Report - Health - On Parenting • May 6, 2010

“Moms often feel they can’t do anything right: Either they’re neglecting the kids to work, or neglecting work to take care of the family. I feel that way about 49 times a day, so I was delighted to talk with Sharon Lerner, a 43-year-old mother of two in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose new book has an ultimately comforting message: It’s not our fault that we can’t “do it all.” We’re living in a country that makes life harder for parents than in just about any place on the planet.”

Do We Need More Working Moms in Washington?

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • May 5, 2010

“Whatever your view, the flap at least shows people are becoming more aware of the juggle-related career obstacles particular to parents, including both mothers and to some extent, stay-at-home dads. Through persuasive legal arguments, women’s advocates in recent years have dragged onto the public radar screen the fact that many working mothers face unique obstacles, such as a ‘maternal wall’ at work that gets even highly competent mothers fired first, hired last and overlooked for promotions.”

Corporate Voices Presents 2010 Sticking Your Neck Out Award and 2010 Non-Profit of the Year Award at Annual Meeting

Author Unlisted • Corporate Voices for Working Families Blog • May 5, 2010

“We will present the ‘2010 Non-Profit of the Year Award’ to Katie Corrigan, co-director, for her outstanding leadership in the field of workplace flexibility. She has created a deep substantive knowledge-base on this subject, and has engaged a diverse range of stakeholders, including business and labor, in thoughtful dialogue about common-sense workplace flexibility public policies.”

Paid Sick Leave Bill Will Not Be Debated Today

Amanda Falcone • Hartford Courant - Capitol Watch Blog • May 5, 2010

“Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, says she could not persuade enough of her colleagues to vote for a paid sick leave bill. She also says she knew the governor would veto such legislation.  As a result, Prague, who has been one of the bill’s biggest advocates, said the measure has been put on hold until next year, and it will not be discussed in either the House of Representatives or the Senate today—the last day of the legislative session.  Next year, there will be a new governor and hopefully more support, she said.”

Setting the Stage for Women in Leadership

Author Unlisted • Mama Bee • May 5, 2010

“It should not be acceptable to tolerate corporate cultures that assume women are ‘less reliable’ employees because they may have children; penalize women for motherhood even if they take no more than a few weeks of maternity leave; and characterize women who actively negotiate as whiny or bitchy or a host of other stereotypes — but that is exactly what women experience over and over again.”

Global News

Women’s hearts at risk from stress at work – study

Denis Campbell • Guardian, UK • May 5, 2010

“Participants who said their work pressures were a little too high were found to be at 25% greater risk of ischaemic heart disease than those who found their workload manageable.  However, nurses who described their work pressures as much too high were almost 35% more likely to develop the condition, even when other risk factors, such as smoking and lifestyle, were taken into account.”

Rules to let mums-to-be rest before birth

Patricia Karvelas and Jodie Minus • Australian • May 5, 2010

“PREGNANT women would be able to quit work three months before the birth of their child and still be eligible for the Rudd government’s new maternity leave pay under rules unveiled yesterday.  The government wants the legislation for the new 18-week scheme to be passed by next month after a four-week Senate inquiry into the new laws. Women who work part-time, as casuals or are self-employed will also be able to have a break of up to eight weeks between jobs in the 13 months before the birth of their child in a concession to women who work intermittently.”