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?

August 6, 2010

Articles

Private Hires Up 71,000; Jobless Rate Unchanged

Author Unlisted • NPR - Associated Press • August 6, 2010

“Private employers hired workers at a weak pace for the third straight month, making it likely that economic growth will slow further in the coming months. The jobless rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent. [. . .] Many companies appear to be getting more out of their current employees rather than adding new staff. The average work week increased by one-tenth of an hour to 34.2 hours, the department said. That’s up from about 33 hours in the depths of the recession.”

Employers Should Eye Telecommuting's Benefits, Pitfalls

Christine V. Bonavita • Law.com - The Legal Intelligencer • August 5, 2010

“At one time, companies that offered their employees the opportunity to work from home were considered progressive or “cutting edge.” More recently, however, telecommuting has become the norm in many workplaces as a response to an increased need of American workers to have more flexibility with their work schedules.”

WOMEN SPEAK OUT: Angle's position on working families draws criticism

Laura Myers • Las Vegas Review-Journal • August 5, 2010

“In defending the quote, Angle’s campaign said that the former teacher and Reno assemblywoman also has both worked and stayed home to raise her two children and believes families should have a choice instead of being forced to bring home two paychecks to make ends meet.  ‘Obviously, it’s better if you have a parent who can raise their own children,’ Angle spokesman Jarrod Agen said. “That’s a much better situation for the upbringing of a child. But obviously, there are situations where both parents have to work. She’s not saying women shouldn’t work.”

Maine Voices: Paid sick time rejected by Maine legislators for very good reasons

Peter M. Gore • Portland Press Herald, ME • August 5, 2010

“No matter how hard supporters try, one cannot study or poll away the fact that requiring businesses here to provide paid sick days for every worker creates a new cost of doing business here that 49 other states would not have.  No study is going to make that fact go away.  Businesses’ resources are not unlimited, and they would absolutely not be able to simply absorb the costs associated with such a proposal.”

A Labor Market Punishing to Mothers

David Leonhardt • New York Times • August 3, 2010

“And our economy exacts a terribly steep price for any time away from work — in both pay and promotions. People often cannot just pick up where they have left off. Entire career paths are closed off. The hit to earnings is permanent. [. . .] As a result, outright sexism is no longer the main barrier to gender equality. The main barrier is the harsh price most workers pay for pursuing anything other than the old-fashioned career path.”

At What Age Will You Retire?

Author Unlisted • Takeaway • August 3, 2010

“65 has been the standard age for retirement in this country since 1935. But that specific age has come into question as states hit economic hardships and more and more people live longer. Lawmakers in about a dozen states are looking to increase the retirement age or modify the way benefits are given out.”

Maine Voices: Paid sick days is an issue that all candidates should support Portland Press Herald

Michael Brennan • Portland Press Herald, ME • July 29, 2010

“Recently, political pundits on the right have tried to make the case that supporting paid sick days is on the political margins of what voters want and expect.  The story plays well during campaign season, but the pundits have it wrong. It’s time to check the facts.
Voters overwhelmingly support policies such as paid sick days to help stay productive and retain jobs. Astute candidates should as well.  During this economic downturn, families across Maine have lost hours, taken pay cuts and given up overtime. Thousands have lost jobs entirely.”

Reports

New Approaches to Organizing Women and Young Workers

• Labor Project for Working Families, UC Berkeley Labor Center, Cornell ILR Programs •

From the website of Labor Project for Working Families:  “This new report by Labor Project for Working Families, Cornell ILR Programs and UC Berkeley Labor Center includes highlights of interviews with 23 organizers about how they use new social media tools and work and family issues in organizing campaigns”

Blogs

Change the Game: Add Aging to the Parent-Centric Work+Life Debate

Cali Williams Yost • Fast Company - Expert Blog • August 4, 2010

“I’m becoming more and more convinced that the power of parenthood alone to catalyze a radical change in the way business, individuals and government approach work and life is limited. [. . .] We need a game changer.  We need something that breaks us out of the rut we’ve been stuck in for 20 years and takes the debate to the next level. We need an issue that drives home the reality that finding new and better work+life strategies is not optional, or a ‘nice thing to do in good times.’  We need ... to include the aging population.”

Compensation Study: Employers Pay More, Employees Make Less

Sara Murray • Wall Street Journal - Real Time Economics • August 4, 2010

“The first release by the new Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University explains the divergence in the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index figures with the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ wage and salary disbursements.  The latest Employment Cost Index showed the cost of wages and benefits was rising slowly. And, seemingly in contrast, BEA’s consumer spending report showed declining wages and salaries.”

Sorry I missed Your Anniversary! Thanks for Keeping Families Afloat.

Joan Williams • Huffington Post • August 4, 2010

“This July marked the sixth anniversary of the nation’s first state law that provides comprehensive paid family leave. Passed in 2002 and in effect since July 2004, California’s paid family leave insurance program provides most workers with six weeks a year of partial pay (55% of wages up to a weekly max—$987 per week in 2010) during unpaid time off from work to care for a newborn, new adopted or foster child, or seriously ill parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner.”

Why Working Mothers Fall Behind

Daniel Indiviglio • Atlantic - Business • August 4, 2010

“New data shows that, despite feminists’ best efforts, women have still failed to reach equality in the job market—to an extent. While women without children are holding their own against men, those who have children continue to fall behind. David Leonhardt from the New York Times explores this phenomenon, which he views as a problem. But it is really something that should concern us, or just a symptom of the choices we make as a society?”

Back to Basics on Social Security

Janice Nittoli • Huffington Post • August 4, 2010

“Americans today enjoy more years of active life—in 1935 the additional life expectancy of a 65 year old was 12.5 years, today it is 18 years. We could, as Stephen Attewell of the New America Foundation suggests, consider half-pensions for older active seniors who want to work less than full time and at no risk to their full pension. Women, now half of the workforce, have dual care-giving challenges in providing for children and parents. Proposals to let workers accumulate family and medical leave, such as those developed by Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary at the Center for American Progress, are creative ways to take advantage of Social Security’s vaunted accounting system.”

Why Don’t Americans Have Longer Vacations?

Various Authors • New York Times - Room for Debate • August 4, 2010

“Workers in Western Europe have faced some cuts in their social benefits of late, but no one is touching their vacations: four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, plus those long holiday weekends. It doesn’t mean they are all loafing, certainly not the Germans, who are cranking out exports. The German unemployment rate has fallen to 7.6 percent, compared with 9.5 percent in the United States.”

Do Working Mothers Really Still Need to Justify Themselves?

KJ Dell'Antonia • Slate - XX Factor • August 3, 2010

“But if explain we must, how about this: Dear One, your grandparents neglected to provide me with a trust fund, and your government believes that twelve unpaid weeks offered us a sufficient time to bond. Bond we did, and I love you madly. But that said, each of us must choose some employment in life, and I have chosen ‘X.’ Having made that choice, I am determined to do my damnedest to be the best possible ‘X’ that I can be. Doing so will make me a better person and a better parent. Love, Mom. PS: Researchers suggest you’ll probably be mostly fine, and so will I. Until taking a year off for infancy is a viable plan for an American ‘X,’ that will have to do.”

Even in a Recession, Flex Makes (Dollars and) Sense

Nanette Fondas • Huffington Post • August 3, 2010

“Flex time, job-sharing, compressed schedules, and telecommuting: these workplace practices are needed now more than ever as we juggle the demands of work and other life commitments in a global, 24/7 economy. Women sometimes need flexible work options particularly to make the pieces of their work-life puzzle fit together—today women make up half the paid labor force and 80 percent of them will become mothers by the time they reach age 44. But workplace flexibility is a salient issue for all people—not just women and not just mothers.”

Global News

Asian families struggle to support children, parents

Author Unlisted • AFP • August 4, 2010

“More Asian families are struggling under the pressure of simultaneously supporting their children and ageing parents, a study released Wednesday said.  Longer lifespans and women bearing children at a later age have increased the number of Asia’s so-called ‘sandwich generation,’ said the study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).”