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 31, 2010


Kids and career: Walking that line

Jen Weigel • Chicago Tribune • August 31, 2010

“It’s a tough balancing act: finding child care while working full time. Can you leave early to relieve the sitter, or maybe to see your son’s soccer game? Parents are constantly trying to be everywhere at once. How can we be proactive parents without causing resentment at the office? [. . .] But more companies are trying to work with their parenting employees, according to Bernadette Patton, president of the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago.”

In weak economy, some work two jobs

Allison Lin • MSNBC • August 30, 2010

“Even as nearly 15 million people are looking for just one job in this difficult economy, millions of Americans are finding they need two jobs to make ends meet. But the percentage of workers holding two or more jobs varies wildly depending on where you live. [. . .] Overall, about 6.5 million people were working two jobs — or more — to make ends meet in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That represents 4.7 percent of the work force, the lowest percentage in at least 15 years.”

Fighting Caregiver Discrimination

Debra D'Agostino • Forbes • August 30, 2010

“Family Responsibilities Discrimination is just as illegal as race discrimination, and while FRD claims have increased by 400% in the past decade, most people have probably never heard of it. In short, it is what it sounds like—discrimination usually stemming from the commonly held stereotype, both among men and women, that a person can be a good worker or a good caretaker, but not both.”

The Female Factor

Dahlia Lithwick • Newsweek • August 30, 2010

“For centuries, the Supreme Court has been zealously opining on whether or not women are fit to practice law, tend bar, work a 10-hour day, support their families, use birth control, or terminate their pregnancies. For most of that time, women influenced that debate only if they were married to a justice. The presence for the first time of three women on the Supreme Court may not reshape constitutional law in any profound way. It may not even change the court. But as the justices continue to decide cases that affect the ways in which women are educated, hired, compensated, and afforded control over their bodies, maybe it’s high time there were three voices at the table with actual experience in the field.”


Americans vs. vacation

Ezra Klein • Washington Post - Ezra Klein • August 31, 2010

“I’d say it’s more closely related to the fact that it’s hard to pass social welfare legislation in the American political system, and thus America is the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee its workers some amount of paid-vacation leave. [. . .] More affluent workers are able to demand paid vacation as part of their compensation package.”

Three Years Maternity Leave, Ctd

Patrick Appel • Atlantic - The Daily Dish • August 31, 2010

This post is a compilation of responses to an inquiry made by the author concerning the relationship between paid parental leave policy and career.

The Conflict of Labor Mobility and Promoting Home Ownership

Daniel Indiviglio • Atlantic - Business • August 30, 2010

“Labor mobility is important, and the government should do what it can to keep the work force as flexible as possible. One way to do that, however, is for the government to stop encouraging home ownership. Even without the government’s help home ownership is sufficiently desirable for Americans who can afford a mortgage under normal market conditions. Having the government increase the ranks of homeowners to those on the margin will ultimately just make them worse off.”

Examining the Defense of Family Values and Unequal Pay for Women

Bill Singer • Huffington Post • August 30, 2010

“These days, the issue of equal pay for women is not simply limited to how much they are paid per hour or whether the door to the executive suite is still ajar for them. Today, there are more fundamental issues being raised. Among the more prominent is whether society should or can ask its female workforce to make economic sacrifices for giving birth and raising families. As the politically charged term “family values” gains prominence, raising families has blossomed into a moral dilemma for society. If we value the manner in which our familes are raised and financially supported, then is it fair to simply shift the economic burden onto the woman’s shoulders?”

Progressive Feminism at Work in Europe

Pascal-Emanuel Gobry • American Scene • August 29, 2010

“Germany has very generous parental leave policies. Women get a full year of paid maternal leave, which they can extend to three years of ‘educational’ leave. Employers are mandated to retake these working mothers in the same position after they leave. And my wife was told that German mothers are culturally strongly encouraged to take the full three years’ leave — if you don’t, you are likely to be frowned upon.”

Global News

Women set to bear 72% of British austerity cuts, report shows

Anthony Faiola • Washington Post • August 30, 2010

“Women, recent studies here show, are far more dependent on the state than men. Women are thus set to bear a disproportionate amount of the pain, prompting a legal challenge that could scuttle the government’s fiscal crusade and raise fairness questions over deficit-cutting campaigns underway from Greece to Spain, and in the United States when it eventually moves to curb spending.  One major target in Britain, for instance, is the bloated public sector, with as many as 600,000 government jobs - or one in 10 - potentially on the chopping block. But 65 percent of state employees are women, including single mothers in part-time job programs, setting them up to suffer more than men.”

The government must find a way to enable parents to work

Camilla Chafer • Guardian, UK • August 29, 2010

“Let me point out the obvious here: with existing work hours almost always 9am to 5pm, and schools hours typically 9am to 3.30pm, parents cannot commute to work in time and are not able to leave to collect their children during term time.  The solution is for flexible working practices enshrined in legislation. All employees should be offered the opportunity to work from home, especially when a child is sick, or to choose hours they can fit around child obligations where the work doesn’t require them to be on site (the exceptions being professions such as doctors, nurses, teachers, builders).“