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 14, 2010


Report: more women than men in U.S. earned doctorates last year for first time

Daniel de Vise • Washington Post • September 14, 2010

“But women who aspired to become college professors, a common path for those with doctorates, were hindered by the particular demands of faculty life. Studies have found that the tenure clock often collides with the biological clock: The busiest years of the academic career are the years that well-educated women tend to have children.”

Gender pay gap is smallest on record

Dennis Cauchon • USA Today • September 14, 2010

“The earnings gap between men and women has shrunk to a record low, partly because many women are prospering in the new economy and partly because men have been hit hard by the recession.  Women earned 82.8% of the median weekly wage of men in the second quarter of 2010, up from 76.1% for the same period a decade ago and the highest ever recorded, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.”

Fairness for Older Workers

Editorial • New York Times • September 13, 2010

“Fifteen months ago, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority mowed past statutory language, Congressional intent and decades of precedent to make it much harder for older workers to prove age discrimination. [. . .] Meantime, the problem is spreading. Some lower federal courts have read the Supreme Court’s ruling to raise the bar for employment claims under other statutes, including the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.”

Redefining Failure

Julia Baird • Newsweek • September 12, 2010

“Should financial success really be a moral imperative? Why do we think that an ordinary kind of life is of lesser worth? Studies have found that our most potent emotional experiences come from relationships, not careers. Those who work in palliative care report that, on their deathbeds, most people don’t regret not having clambered a rung higher, but having worked too hard, and having lost touch with friends.”

The Traders Who Skip Most of the Day

Kristina Peterson • Wall Street Journal • September 10, 2010

“Briargate, a proprietary-trading firm that the two former NYSE floor ‘specialist’ traders started in 2008, is mostly active at the stock market’s open and close.  In between, when market activity typically drops, the Wall Street veterans play tennis in Central Park, take leisurely lunches, visit their children’s schools and work out at the gym. Dress shoes have been replaced with flip-flops, slacks with cargo shorts. Once during market hours, they walked about five miles and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to try Grimaldi’s pizza.”

Prepare for Reentry

Matthew Dublin • Genome Technology •

“Despite your best efforts to plot and plan a career trajectory that moves seamlessly from graduate school to a postdoctoral position and onto a rewarding job, sometimes life just happens. Some things no one can really plan for, such as a spouse or family member who is suddenly stricken with a serious illness that requires you to become the primary caregiver, or an economic downturn that results in a lengthy period of unemployment. [. . .]Taking time off to raise children or to take advantage of a career opportunity unrelated to one’s initial training also accounts for a large number of individuals who wind up re-starting a career in academia or industry after time away.”


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Other items on the Congressional to-do list

Ed O'Keefe • Washington Post - Federal Eye • September 13, 2010

“House aides believe there’s a good chance that a bill giving federal workers the option of working remotely could pass this year. The Obama administration considers telework an attractive recruiting tool and other supporters think it’s a critical tool for continuity of government in the event of terrorist attacks or natural disasters. But will Republicans and vulnerable Democrats approve a bill that gives federal workers another big job perk and feeds the stereotype that they’re lazy and underworked?”

How Many Jobs Do We Need?

Nancy Folbre • New York Times - Economix • September 13, 2010

“The [employment-population] ratio has always declined in recession years, but now the recession-related declines have swamped long-term trends – we are now at an employment-population ratio about the same as in 1977. [. . .] It’s nice to have more time to care for children and other family members, but not if you lack the money to pay for their food, clothing, shelter and education.  Indeed, our increased dependence on the market economy helps explain why unemployment today is more economically stressful in some respects than it was in the 1930s, when fewer families depended on wage employment to put food on the table.”

Are Family-Friendly Benefits on the Decline?

Tina Vasquez • Glass Hammer • September 13, 2010

“Though family-friendly benefits and policies – such as paid parental leave, paid sick days, health insurance, dental insurance, flexible work arrangements, job training, etc. — are costly to employers in the short term, it’s become increasingly clear that these very benefits increase the productivity of employees and drastically reduce employee absenteeism and job turnover. Essentially, they become incredibly valuable in the long term.  A majority of companies conduct an investigation before cutting or reducing benefits in order to determine where the costs are coming from. The benefits that are costliest to the organization are the first to be cut and unfortunately, these often include family-friendly benefits.”

The Blue Sky series: Dean Baker’s plan to create 9 million jobs

Ezra Klein, Dean Baker • Washington Post - Ezra Klein • September 10, 2010

“Both Republicans and Democrats recognize the need for unemployment insurance in a downturn. What is wrong with having the government partially offset the loss of pay from a 20 percent reduction in work hours rather than demanding that someone be 100 percent unemployed before they can collect unemployment benefits? This keeps people on the job so that they remain part of the workforce and will continually upgrade their skills as needed. This avoids the often devastating effects of long-term unemployment. Work sharing has been pursued aggressively by the conservative government in Germany. Its unemployment rate is now lower than it was at the start of the downturn even though its economy suffered a sharper drop in GDP than the United States.”

Global News

A third of new male graduates would swap work for childcare

Jeevan Vasagar • Guardian, UK • September 13, 2010

“A portrait of the graduate class of 2010, which left university this summer to face the toughest jobs market in a decade, reveals that a third of young men would give up their careers to care for their children.  Half of graduates were much more pessimistic about finding a job than they had been when they started at university, while 33% said their expectations had stayed the same and only 13% were more optimistic.  This increased career anxiety appears to have influenced graduates’ priorities.”