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 21, 2010


For ‘Walmart Moms,’ Nothing Abstract About Financial Pain

Charlie Cook • National Journal Online • September 21, 2010

“But a new one that makes considerable sense is Walmart Moms, a term for working- and middle-class women with kids at home who shop at Walmart. [. . .] There were many wives who hadn’t worked outside the home before but were going to work because their husbands had lost their jobs. Others had been the secondary breadwinner but were now the primary one because their husband’s income had dropped so much.  Every day is a struggle for these families and they feel that elected officials in both parties have abandoned them.”

Labor-management council considers tackling telework

Norah Swanson • Government Executive • September 20, 2010

“During a monthly meeting on Monday, council co-chairman John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, gave members 10 days to volunteer for a working group on the alternative work arrangement. If the topic generates enough interest, then the working group would explore possible ways to increase the number of federal employees authorized to work remotely, especially in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.  Speaking to the council at OPM headquarters, Berry said he believes telework allows the government to be more agile and able to maintain continuity of services during emergencies.”

Stop bringing work home

Jan Weigel • Chicago Tribune • September 20, 2010

“What do your kids think of your work? Are they excited when you run out the door? Do they ask you about your day when you get home? According to Ellen Galinsky, author of ‘Ask the Children: What America’s Children Really Think About Working Parents,’ they might be worried about your stress level.”

Ranks of Women on Wall Street Thin

Kyle Stock • Wall Street Journal • September 20, 2010

“In the past 10 years, 141,000 women, or 2.6% of female workers in finance, left the industry. The ranks of men grew by 389,000 in that period, or 9.6%, according to a review of data provided by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. [. . .] Given recent volatile markets and much scrutiny on compensation, there are fewer incentives to stay in the business for those women who have already chosen finance-industry careers [. . .] Ms. Tsiang theorized that these women are having and raising children rather than staying on the job.

For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again

Motoko Rich • New York Times • September 19, 2010

“Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older. Nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate in the group — 7.3 percent — is at a record, more than double what it was at the beginning of the latest recession.  After other recent downturns, older people who lost jobs fretted about how long it would take to return to the work force and worried that they might never recover their former incomes. But today, because it will take years to absorb the giant pool of unemployed at the economy’s recent pace, many of these older people may simply age out of the labor force before their luck changes.”


Why World Alzheimer’s Day Matters

Maria Shriver • Huffington Post • September 21, 2010

“In the next month, we will release the second Shriver Report, this one A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s. This groundbreaking report will detail how women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer‚s disease and what that means for the nation. Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women, who are not only nearly two-thirds of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Women are also nearly two-thirds of the caregivers for those who have. [. . .] American laws and institutions have to evolve and catch up with this economic reality. Our families need predictable and flexible working hours, redesigned family and medical leave, elder care, and social security benefits that account for time spent out of the workforce while caregiving.”

For Needy Families, A Needy Program

Nancy Folbre • New York Times - Economix • September 20, 2010

“The program was set up in 1996 as a replacement for Aid to Families With Dependent Children, with the putative intent of encouraging paid employment and self-sufficiency by imposing time limits and work requirements. In the late 1990s, when unemployment rates were relatively low, many single parents made successful transitions to paid employment.  Today, however, many parents seeking employment can’t find jobs, and those who rely on public assistance are especially vulnerable. About one-third of parents, and about one-quarter of children in families receiving aid from this program, suffer from a chronic health problem or disability.”

Women Desert Wall Street

Felix Salmon • Reuters - Felix Salmon • September 20, 2010

“And as for the idea that women would rather quit to have babies rather than cope with volatility, frankly it’s downright offensive. And doesn’t square with those job losses between 2001 and 2006, when volatility was declining and compensation was rising.”

The Stagnating Labor Market, 1: Dropping Out Of the Labor Force

Mike Konczal • Rortybomb • September 20, 2010

“This is what the labor market loops like. It is normally a dynamic machine where people transition between employed, unemployed, and out of the labor force. But recently sand has been thrown in the gears, and people’s transitioning between these states is slowing, with more and more people ending up in not in the labor force and staying there. [. . .] Starting in January 2009 it is more likely an unemployed person will drop out of the labor force instead of finding a job. More people are leaving unemployment by simply leaving the formal labor force rather than ending up with a new job. This has massive implications for how we all should view the unemployment numbers.”

Fatherhood is the “New Macho”

Tracy Clark-Flory • Salon - Broadsheet • September 20, 2010

“Authors Andrew Romano and Tony Dokoupil answer that query with a call for ‘a reimagining of what men should be expected to do in the two realms, home and work, that have always determined their worth.’ Their argument is essentially that we need to encourage men to take active caretaking roles at home and at work. This means putting more emphasis on the importance of fatherhood and recasting so-called nurturing professions so that they no longer seem the sole domain of women.”

Global News

Let’s talk about working parents, not just supermums

Karen Brooks • Courier-Mail, Australia • September 21, 2010

“Never before has work-life balance been more difficult to achieve, and this at a time when social awareness, changing gender roles, skills shortage, family-friendly policies and global technologies should, by rights, be making the hybrid life of the working parent - especially women - easier. Except it is not, and the new swag of legislation and employer responsibilities have once again placed an employee’s sex at the centre of the debate - something we thought we had laid, dare I say it, to bed years ago.”

The secret to ... agile working

Anna Tims • Guardian, UK • September 18, 2010

“Agile working is a concept devised by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota to get production lines moving faster. It’s been adopted by firms such as Sky and BT to transform their work ethos; there’s even an agile manifesto detailing the founding principles.  Agile working is ‘the ability to focus on performance, not mere presenteeism, to create trust-based relationships not hierarchies, to embrace innovation rather than bureaucracy, and to value people more than property,’ says Paul Allsopp, managing director of business consultancy The Agile Organisation.”