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?

June 1, 2010

Articles

Say goodbye to full-time jobs with benefits

Chris Isidore • CNNMoney.com • June 1, 2010

“Jobs may be coming back, but they aren’t the same ones workers were used to.  Many of the jobs employers are adding are temporary or contract positions, rather than traditional full-time jobs with benefits. With unemployment remaining near 10%, employers have their pick of workers willing to accept less secure positions, boosting an existing trend toward a contract workforce.”

Children of Military Families Feel The Strain

Allison Keyes, Host • National Public Radio - Tell Me More • May 31, 2010

“In commemoration of Memorial Day, guest host Allison Keyes talks to Mary Scott, whose group commissioned the study. Scott is a military spouse and mother of six. All of her children are active service members. She talks about the effect of military service on family life.”

Five myths about working mothers

Naomi Cahn and June Carbone • Washington Post • May 30, 2010

“Today, the notion of a mother holding a job outside the home is so commonplace, so unremarkable, that the phrase ‘working mother’ seems redundant. Nearly two-thirds of women with children under age 18 now have jobs outside the home—more than three times the rate in 1960. But while the numbers have shifted rapidly, many of our beliefs about juggling work and family haven’t quite caught up.”

Our No-Vacation Nation

Jim Axelrod, Reporter • CBS News • May 30, 2010

“One in four American workers does not have paid vacation provided by his employer.  ‘And we don’t have any law that would require any employer to do that,’ said John Schmitt, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.  He’s the author of a study detailing one unique feature of our economic system that’s not the envy of the rest of the world: Out of the 33 richest countries, the U.S. is the only one with no legally-required paid vacation for its workers.”

Too Scared To Take A Vacation?

Tara Weiss • Forbes • May 28, 2010

“Employees have watched their colleagues get laid off, and they’ve read the unceasing reports of downsizing practically everywhere; as a result, many are too scared or feel too guilty to take their allotted vacation time. Instead of recharging in a hammock or at the beach, they’re putting their heads down and concentrating on the heftier workload they’ve had since so many of their colleagues were let go—and they’re hoping their bosses notice.”

10 Ways to Make Any Job Healthier

Liz Wolgemuth • U.S. News and World Report • May 27, 2010

“Request a flexible work arrangement: In some parts of the world, lawmakers have jumped into the debate over flexible work arrangements. Parents with young kids also have a statutory right to ask for flexible work arrangements in the U.K. The benefits of a controllable work schedule are great, even for non-parents. A recent Cochrane review of 10 studies found that control over one’s own work hours yielded health benefits in areas such as blood pressure and sleep.”

The Why-Worry Generation

Judith Warner • New York Times • May 24, 2010

“The behavior of many of this year’s college seniors might further fuel this story line. They are graduating into a labor market decimated by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate for early 20-somethings is close to 20 percent. Increased applications to grad school have turned that option of sitting out the recession into a reach. [. . .] Yet despite the fact that the new graduates are in no position to pose conditions for employers, many are increasingly declaring themselves unwilling to work more than 40 hours a week. Graduates are turning down job offers in high numbers — essentially opting to move back home with their parents if the work offered doesn’t match their self-assessed market value.”

Events

Navigating Workplace Flexibility and the Right to Request

Author Unlisted • Aequus Partners, Australia • June 1, 2010

From the invitation:  “This seminar will help businesses respond to employee requests for flexible work arrangements and better understand how employees manage work-life boundaries in the age of 24/7 work”

Blogs

Helping Children by Providing Parents More Flexibility at Work

Lisa Guernsey • New America Foundation - Early Ed Watch • June 1, 2010

“Any working parent with young children knows the importance of workplace flexibility – whether it is being able to shift hours to meet with a child’s teacher or working from home when your child is sick. But workplace flexibility is not so easy to come by—especially for employees in low-wage, hourly jobs. Workplace policies have not caught up to modern life in which either both parents work outside the home or parents are single and must find someone else to care for their children when they are on the job.”

How High Can the Retirement Age Go?

Various Authors • New York Times - Room for Debate • May 31, 2010

“In the United States, where private-sector workers born in 1960 and later already have to work to 67 to gain full Social Security benefits, government officials are looking for ways to reduce the costs of ballooning public sector pensions and are pressuring unions to agree to later retirement dates.  How high can or should the retirement age go, and should it be tied to increases in life expectancy? What will changes in retirement patterns mean for the United States, compared with Western Europe?”

MY VIEW: Economic role of parents devalued

Amy Peake • Birmingham News, AL - Birmingham News Commentary • May 30, 2010

“In the modern economy, two-thirds of all created wealth is created by human skills, what economists call ‘human capital.’ What Roosevelt was trying to say is parents who are conscientiously and effectively rearing children are literally, in the words of economist Shirley Burggraf, ‘the major wealth producers in our economy.’”

For women, it’s really lonely at the top

Selena Rezvani • Washington Post - On Leadership • May 28, 2010

“The higher a woman goes in her career, the more likely it is that she’s without a spouse and children. The more successful a man is however, the more probable it is that he has a family. [. . .] The majority of employers haven’t woken up to the realization that they don’t accommodate the needs of the average working mother. For every ambitious woman who’s wondering if work and motherhood translate to an either/or decision, there is a company that could be planning and offering her options through one of life’s most significant milestones. Ignoring working mothers’ needs is bad for women, families, business, and handicaps our country’s economic and competitive strength. Perhaps women can’t have it all, but they shouldn’t be limited to unacceptably few, outmoded, all-or-nothing options.”

Global News

German jobless rate down to 7.7 percent

Geir Moulson • Associated Press • June 1, 2010

“In addition, unemployment has been tamed by a government-backed program that allows companies to put workers on reduced hours in an effort to avoid layoffs.  The labor agency said 693,000 people were in that program in March, down from a peak of 1.5 million last May, apparently due largely to people returning to full-time work.  ‘The bogey of mass unemployment has been shooed away,’ said Carsten Brzeski, an analyst with ING Group in Brussels, adding that the labor market seems to be turning ‘much earlier than many had thought.’”

New Labour’s employment law record gets mixed response from employers

David Woods • HR Magazine, UK • June 1, 2010

“According to a report from the CIPD and KPMG, employers are not encouraging new fathers to take paternity leave insofar as only a minority of businesses currently offer fathers full (or near full) pay during the two-week statutory paternity period and even fewer offer any paid leave after this initial period.  The findings of this report will make interesting reading for the new coalition government which has stated its intention to review employment and workplace laws generally and also to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees.”