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 24, 2010

Articles

How to ask your boss to work flextime

Anne Fisher • CNN - Fortune • September 23, 2010

“A whopping 89% of Americans say that balancing work and the rest of life is a problem, and more than a third (38%) say it has gotten worse because of the economic downturn, according to a new poll by research firm StrategyOne [. . .] The good news here is that many employers are aware of the struggle: About one-third of employees that responded to a recent global workforce study by the human resources consulting firm Towers Watson said that they were permitted to work from home either full-time or part-time, and an additional 50% said that they have the green light to do so ‘occasionally.’”

Real Men Know How to Take Paternity Leave

Allison Stevens • Women's eNews • September 23, 2010

“What does it mean to be a real man at the office?  It means being a workaholic, says Joan Williams, and that has devastating consequences for women, men and families.  Men prove their masculinity in the workplace by putting in long hours, Williams said last week at a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. She was discussing her new book ‘Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter.’”

National “Moms Rising” Group Lobbying For Paid Sick Leave

David Freedlander • New York Observer • September 22, 2010

“Moms Rising, a four year old advocacy organization dedicated to building ‘a more family friendly America,’ is emailing its more than 1 million members and urging them to call Council Speaker Christine Quinn to urge her to pass the Paid Sick Leave Act.”

Finding a work-life balance: Putting self-care on the to-do list

Sara Conrad • Florida Times-Union • September 22, 2010

“A recent survey conducted by Cox Media Group found that 89 percent of Americans view their work/life balance as a significant problem, especially during the recession. The news release noted that in light of the current economic landscape, it is easy to get carried away with our career selves, and who we are in our career, can transcend who we are in life.”

Fair Pay Isn’t Always Equal Pay

Christina Hoff Sommers • New York Times • September 21, 2010

“Moreover, a 2009 analysis of wage-gap studies commissioned by the Labor Department evaluated more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and concluded that the aggregate wage gap ‘may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.’  In addition to differences in education and training, the review found that women are more likely than men to leave the workforce to take care of children or older parents. They also tend to value family-friendly workplace policies more than men, and will often accept lower salaries in exchange for more benefits. In fact, there were so many differences in pay-related choices that the researchers were unable to specify a residual effect due to discrimination.”

Blogs

Mind the Gap

Heather Boushey • Slate • September 23, 2010

“Consider workplace flexibility. Researchers find that women—and, in particular, mothers—are actually less likely to have access to workplace flexibility than men. Nor does the flexibility they do get explain the motherhood pay gap. In a careful empirical study, two sociologists, Paula England at Stanford University and Michelle Budig at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, found that interruptions from work, working part-time, and decreased experience can explain no more than about one-third of the gap in pay between women with and without children. And “mother-friendly” job characteristics explained far less.”

Best of Congress: The Personal Stories That Drive Their Legislative Accomplishments

Yvonne Siu • Corporate Voices for Working Families Blog • September 23, 2010

“Yesterday, Corporate Voices and Working Mother Media publicly recognized the 30 winners of this year’s Best of Congress Award. The Award recognizes Congressional excellence in improving the lives of working families through advancing national legislation, advocacy, and supporting family-friendly work policies in their own offices.”

Michelle Obama: Vets Shortchanged On Jobs, Civilians Don’t Understand Military

Lynn Sweet • Politics Daily • September 23, 2010

“Asked how exactly these goals to help vets and spouses were going to be accomplished, an East Wing official told Politics Daily that Mrs. Obama plans to bolster and leverage existing programs at the CGI and within the U.S. government and non-governmental groups.  Mrs. Obama also plans to engage—it is not clear how or when—the business and non-profit communities to tear down barriers to employment.”

What Discrimination Means.

Monica Potts • American Prospect - Tapped • September 22, 2010

“This argument, that women are simply choosing to leave the workforce to take care of their children, is ridiculous. Sommers dismisses the social influence on women by calling it ‘1970s-style gender-war feminism’ but doesn’t seem to understand that we’re fighting the same prejudices as we were 40 years ago. Women who see their counterparts earn less money in the workplace after they have children might rationally choose to leave their jobs to take care of their own children because it’s the best option for their family; that doesn’t mean that large-scale discrimination against women and mothers didn’t lead to that decision.”

Global News

MT Expert – Legal: Making sense of maternity

Kate Hodgkiss • Management Today, UK • September 24, 2010

“The Conservatives stated that maternity leave should be more flexible, and that the first 14 weeks should apply to the mother. Parents should then decide how to use the remaining period. The increased flexibility would mean that parents could use the leave simultaneously.  Similarly, the Liberal Democrats stated that they aimed to introduce greater flexibility, and suggested a single system of parental leave, allowing parents to share the 12 months’ leave, in a way that suits them best.”