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?

September 10, 2010

Articles

Grandparents increasingly fill need as caregivers

Carol Morello • Washington Post • September 9, 2010

“The number of children being raised by their grandparents has risen sharply since the start of the recession in 2007, according to a new Pew Research Center study that found one in 10 children in the U.S. now lives with a grandparent.”

Bosses: Give workers time off for school events

Associated Press • Joyce M. Rosenberg • September 9, 2010

“With the start of the school year, small business owners will be getting requests from working parents who want time off to attend children’s soccer and basketball games and other school events. Not just once, but many times throughout the year.  Owners who want to keep morale up will say OK. But they should also give non-parents the opportunity to leave early for personal reasons.”

Glass ceiling for female Hill aides?

Erika Lovley • Politico • September 7, 2010

“In general, women have traditionally had little problem securing employment on the Hill, especially entry-level positions. But in more advanced positions, including legislative director and chief of staff, their numbers drop off significantly.  But some staffers say the Hill, which often demands long hours and low pay, is inhospitable to women, who often want to raise a family around the age when they would be eligible for high-level positions. The average House chief of staff rakes in $134,000, according to the employment studies.”

Are Young Women Earning More Than Their Boyfriends?

Heather Boushey • Slate • September 7, 2010

“But young women are earning more than young men because young women are acquiring more skills than the men are. Good for them. But this doesn’t mean that they’re being treated the same way in the workplace. When you do the apples-to-apples comparison that the AAUW did, young women still earn less than comparably skilled men. What has changed is that there are more women with higher levels of education.”

Making a Comeback

Sherry Karabin • California Lawyer •

“San Francisco litigator Diane Duvall left the law in 2000 to spend more time with her family. Raising three kids, she’d given up on trying to juggle a busy practice, too. But that changed about a year ago when she read about a program called Opting Back In, which helps former attorneys reconnect with their careers.”

Events

Designing Work-Family Policies for Families, Employers and Gender Equity

• New America Foundation and Institute for Women's Policy Research • September 16, 2010

“Join the New America Foundation and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research as four experts examine the evidence from the US and across the world on work-family policies that support families, help employers succeed, and increase gender equity.”

Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter

• Center for American Progress • September 16, 2010

“The Center for American Progress will feature a panel discussion around the book Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter by Joan C. Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.”

Blogs

Stop Being So Productive

Derek Thompson • Atlantic - Business • September 9, 2010

“Productivity is good thing. But too much of a good thing, remember, isn’t necessarily great. Productivity tends to rise during times of high unemployment, because workers feel lucky to have a job and employers squeeze the few workers they have before committing an extra $70K on a new employee’s wages and benefits. That’s one reason why some economists cheered the news that productivity fell in the latest report.”

Are Today’s Female Athletes Better at Negotiating Work/Life Balance?

Jessica Grose • Slate - XX Factor • September 9, 2010

“While Evert’s focus on tennis was singular, Clijsters and Dent’s attitude toward work-life balance cottons with the stereotype about their generation’s feelings on the matter: That balance is considered a top priority. How lovely that the U.S. Open has created Kids’ Court so that players like Clijsters can enjoy her daughter and her tennis simultaneously.”

How Long is Too Long to Rest after a Labor Day?

Mary Curlew • Sloan Work and Family Blog • September 8, 2010

“Two recent maternity leave and pregnancy discrimination cases have raised questions about the lack of federal regulations protecting workers who are expecting or recovering from the birth of a child. [. . .]  Although employees who work for companies with 50 or more workers are entitled to 12 weeks maternity leave under the FMLA, state laws vary dramatically for employers with less than 50 employees.”

Trend in Temp Hiring Doesn’t Bode Well for Overall Jobs Picture

Motoko Rich • New York Times - Economix • September 7, 2010

“Temporary help services added 16,800 jobs, out of a total of 67,000 private-sector jobs added on net in August.  But that number pales in comparison to the 94,700 temporary jobs that were added last November, or even the 30,400 jobs that were added as recently as May of this year. [. . .] The subdued picture on temporary hiring adds to the uncertainty that is gripping the economy, with everybody trying to guess whether the slowdown in hiring is a prelude to a halt or even a backslide, or merely a pause before a pickup.”

Beyond GDP Measures Don’t Make the US Look Better

John B. Taylor • Economics One • September 6, 2010

“For example, income per capita in France is only 70 percent of that in the United States, while the new welfare measure for France is 97 percent of that in the United States. The difference is mainly due to more leisure and less income inequality in France.”

Working Past 65 is Nothing New

Philip Moeller • U.S. News and World Report - The Best Life • September 5, 2010

“U.S. News looked at labor force participation rates for persons aged 55 and older, going back to 1950 for the broadest measures, and back to the 1980s for some measures of specific groups of older workers.  Low labor force participation rates generally mean that people feel fairly well off, but they also can reflect social patterns. Women, by way of a huge example, have posted a sustained rise in participation rates that’s lasted decades. The fact the rate was low in the 1950s didn’t mean that women felt well off but that prevailing social norms did not encourage them to work.  Likewise with older workers, changing attitudes are a likely cause of higher participation rates. So are longer life spans and improved health of people in their later years.”

Global News

The $6.3bn paid parental leave is just one policy under fire from Coalition MPs

Patricia Karvelas • Australian • September 11, 2010

“Tony Abbott’s generous paid parental leave scheme their first priority because it discriminates against stay-at-home mothers.  The Weekend Australian has spoken to more than 10 MPs who say the loss of the election means the policy can be junked, and made ‘fairer’.  Nationals senator John Williams said he believed it should be altered and gradually phased out for those on an annual income above $75,000, with the savings spent on boosting the amount stay-at-home mothers receive.”

Yes, today’s workers have less freedom, but it’s not all grim

Stephen Overell • Guardian, UK • September 10, 2010

“Autonomy matters. Its decline should trouble managers and policymakers. But it is a counsel of unwarranted despair to believe that everything is getting worse at work across the complex trends of the labour market.  Any reckoning of job quality needs some framework of what ‘good work’ might look like. There are different definitions, but job security, pay, working time, intensity, the relationships between colleagues, the development of skills, the sense of fairness in a workplace, the degree of interest work affords – all these are critical, alongside autonomy.”