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?

August 27, 2010


Little Women at Home in U.S. Chamber Worldview: Susan Antilla

Susan Antilla • Bloomberg • August 26, 2010

“As far back as 1978 the Chamber was cited in U.S. News and World Report as opposing legislation that would guarantee disability benefits for working women who became pregnant. The Chamber and the National Association of Manufacturers at the time said maternity benefits ‘would encourage more workers to become pregnant’ and add as much as $1.3 billion a year to employers’ costs, according to the article.”

Honoring Brenda Barnes

Vivian Steir Rabin and Carol Fishman Cohen • Working Mother • August 26, 2010

“ In 2008, in the midst of the recession, Barnes launched Returnships@Sara Lee™ ‘to provide opportunities for mid-career individuals re-entering the workforce after having been away for a number of years.’  Initially conceived as a paid internship that converted to a permanent role if the candidate was successful, the company was so happy with the high level talent it recruited through the program that returning professionals can now apply for any open position at Sara Lee and know they will be given equal consideration despite any gaps on their resumes. “

Telework can work for you, too

Catherine Salvadore • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • August 25, 2010

“In considering telework at UPS, our goal was to adapt to the realities of a changing work force while better serving our employees, our customers and our community.  This meant balancing both flexibility and efficiency — and rethinking the concept of ‘work’ more as something that gets done versus a place our employees go.  After the launch of our pilot program, the results spoke for themselves:  Productivity when working from home jumped by 17 percent, and 86 percent of UPS teleworkers agreed that job satisfaction improved when reporting to work without leaving home.”

Outsourced Call Centers Return, To U.S. Homes

Carolyn Beeler • NPR - All Things Considered • August 25, 2010

“Home workers, such as Quigley-Hogan, represent one of the cheapest models for customer service. There are an estimated 60,000 people doing call center work from home. [. . .] Even with these cost-cutting measures, American workers are still the more expensive option. But industry watchers say so-called home sourcing will continue to grow as companies look for quality that used to be harder to afford.”

Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime

Matt Richtel • New York Times • August 24, 2010

“Cellphones, which in the last few years have become full-fledged computers with high-speed Internet connections, let people relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation.  The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.  Ms. Bates, for example, might be clearer-headed if she went for a run outside, away from her devices, research suggests.”


Women and the Economy 2010: 25 Years of Progress But Challenges Remain

• U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee • August 25, 2010

“This report, which includes data from 1984 through 2009, provides a comprehensive overview of women’s economic progress over the last twelve years and highlights the additional work left to be done.  The role of women in the American economy is of indisputable importance.  The future of the American economy depends on women’s work, both inside and outside the home.”


Should Retirement Be Nasty, Brutish, and Shorter

Kevin Drum • Mother Jones - Kevin Drum • August 26, 2010

“Sure, life expectancy may increase in the future, but if it does then we have the option of increasing the retirement age when it happens. For now, we should make policy based on current reality, and the current reality is that life expectancy at age 65 has increased only 3.5 years since 1970. There’s no reason the retirement age should increase five years in response.”

For Workers Who Find Jobs, Lower Wages

Sara Murray • Wall Street Journal - Real Time Economics • August 26, 2010

“Of the 6.9 million workers who lost jobs during the recession that they’d held for at least three years, only about half were reemployed by January 2010. And 55% of those who did find work were earning less than before.  The findings, released Thursday, are part of the Labor Department’s report on worker displacement from 2007 to 2009. “

Women’s Equality Day and the 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

Valerie Jarrett • White House Blog • August 26, 2010

“Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day and we mark the 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. [. . .] Since 1920, women have made enormous strides toward social, political, and economic equality in the United States. Today, women and girls comprise just over 50 percent of the United States’ population.  Women now outnumber men in undergraduate education, as they now earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees and they makeup nearly half of the U.S. workforce.”

Working Women in Part-Time Jobs

Catherine Rampell • New York Times - Economix • August 25, 2010

“The number of women in the work force has grown by more than 40 percent in the last 25 years. But the distribution of women hasn’t changed much: in 1984, just as in 2009, about a quarter of women were in part-time jobs.  Is this distribution a good thing or a bad thing for gender equity, or neither? On the one hand, part-time jobs are less likely to offer benefits or high wages. On the other hand, in part-time jobs, women are more likely to outearn men. Plus part-time jobs are more likely to allow for a more flexible work-life balance.”

No Reason to Wait on Paid Sick Leave

John Petro • Huffington Post • August 25, 2010

“In an effort to show business leaders that they are being heard, Quinn has stated that she intends to wait for the results of a study on paid sick leave—commissioned by big-business advocate Partnership for New York City—before moving the bill forward for a vote.  But delaying this bill is unnecessary; paid sick leave is successful policy that has a proven record of success. The bill would require employers to allow workers to earn paid sick leave, one hour of leave for every thirty hours worked. Currently an estimated 1.65 million workers in New York, close to one-in-two workers, do not have any paid sick leave.”

“Those who are fortunate enough to still have jobs are often working longer hours for less pay, with the ever-present threat of losing being laid off. But even before the recession, American workers were already clocking in the most hours in the West. Compared to our German cousins across the pond, we work 1,804 hours versus their 1,436 hours – the equivalent of nine extra 40-hour workweeks per year. The Protestant work ethic may have begun in Germany, but it has since evolved to become the American way of life.”

Wrestling With Maternity Leave

Francesca Donner • Forbes - The Broad Beat • August 24, 2010

“So while our friends across the pond in the U.K. are clocking up a year of time off and even more in Sweden (plus paternity benefits) I’m sitting here trying to portion out my days so that I don’t lose one minute with my baby once I make the shift from mum-to-be to mum. With just 12 measly weeks on the other side, I’m reluctant to take even one day in advance of my baby’s birth.”

Global News

Our dysfunctional paternity leave system

Guardian • Rob Williams • August 25, 2010

“When Tony Blair took paternity leave in 2000 he saw a 2% dip in his approval ratings. The likelihood now is that David Cameron’s ratings would have suffered if he had opted not to take leave.  More is expected of fathers these days, and fathers expect more of themselves. At the Fatherhood Institute, we recently polled 1,000 mums and dads and found that with only a few exceptions they aspired to an equal sharing of parenting roles. And yet we still don’t seem to have reached the tipping point of change that would create real options for parents wanting to share their parenting.”