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 3, 2010


Productivity falls while labor costs increase

Martin Crutsinger • Associated Press • September 2, 2010

“Productivity in the spring fell by the largest amount in nearly four years while labor costs rose, signals that companies may have reached the limits of squeezing more work out of fewer workers.  Productivity dropped at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the April-to-June quarter, double the 0.9 percent decline originally reported a month ago, the Labor Department said Thursday. Unit labor costs rose 1.1 percent, the biggest rise in labor costs since late 2008.”

25 percent of employed were jobless during recession, study says

Michael A. Fletcher • Washington Post • September 2, 2010

“Just over a quarter of the nation’s 139 million currently employed workers endured a bout of unemployment during the Great Recession, according to results of a Pew Research Center survey released Thursday. And they tend to be less satisfied in their current jobs than are other workers.”

Young Women’s Pay Exceeds Male Peers’

Conor Dougherty • Wall Street Journal • September 1, 2010

“The earning power of young single women has surpassed that of their male peers in metropolitan areas around the U.S., a shift that is being driven by the growing ranks of women who attend college and move on to high-earning jobs.  In 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released Wednesday by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y.”

‘Best places to work’ rankings put Nuclear Regulatory Commission at top of federal workplace heap

Ed O'Keefe and Lisa Rein • Washington Post • September 1, 2010

“Overall, 65 percent of workers were satisfied with the federal government as an employer and would recommend it as a place to work, the survey said. Almost 79 percent were satisfied that their jobs match their agency’s mission; 63 percent were pleased with their pay; and 61 percent were satisfied with training and development opportunities. Just 36 percent of workers think the government is giving them enough flexibility to work from home or telecommute as they try to raise families.”

For Many, a New Job Means Lower Wages, Studies Find

Michael Luo • New York Times • August 31, 2010

“With the country focused on job growth and unemployment continuing to hover above 9 percent, there has been comparatively little attention paid to the quality of the jobs being created in this still-struggling economy and what that might say about the opportunities that will be available to workers when the tumult of the Great Recession finally settles. There are reasons, however, for concern, even in the early stages of a tentative recovery that now appears to be barely wheezing along.”

Keeping Employees Happy in a Post-Recession World

John R. Ryan • Bloomberg BusinessWeek • August 31, 2010

“Compensation, benefits, and development opportunities play key roles in retaining employees, according to our research. The greatest predictor of how long talented workers will stick around, however, is the relationship they have with their immediate boss.  Here’s what the CCL/Booz Allen study found: Among those who strongly agreed that they work for a manager who cares about their well-being, 94 percent said they intend to stay with their current employer. Of those who strongly disagreed that their manager cared about their well-being, just 43 percent planned to stick around.”

AWLP Work-Life Awards

Author Unlisted • World at Work - Alliance for Work-Life Progress •

“With all of us looking for ways to do more with less, organizations today more than ever need strong work-life initiatives and champions to attract, retain and motivate top talent. We all know of companies that are succeeding at this. We all know people who are passionate about work-life issues. They can be held up as examples to the community to prove that work-life is good for business.  Through Oct. 31, Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP), an affiliate of WorldatWork, is searching for professionals who demonstrate leadership and growing contributions to the work-life field for its Work-Life Rising Star recognition program.”


The Price of Paid Vacation

Matthew Yglesias • ThinkProgress - Yglesias • September 3, 2010

“That said, I can envision two kinds of arguments for mandatory paid vacation. One is that it would arguably be a way of forcing workers without families to subsidize workers with families, which might be a good idea since parenting is hard work that creates real value for our enduring human community. The other is that perhaps employers would be able to make up the lost output from paid vacation by getting people to waste less time while on the clock.“

Vacation cont’d

Ezra Klein • Washington Post - Ezra Klein • September 2, 2010

“Broadly speaking, employees with the power to demand more paid vacation do so, and employees without the power to demand more paid vacation get less—or in some cases, no—paid vacation. A law guaranteeing paid vacation would primarily tilt the playing field toward low-income workers, rather than against them, as is the case now.  You see a similarly dynamic in family leave: There wasn’t much of it until Bill Clinton passed the Family and Medical Leave Act. And the FMLA was one of his most popular accomplishments.”

Jobs are stealing families’ time

Avis Thomas-Lester • Washington Post - On Success - Rapid Reinvention • September 2, 2010

“StrategyOne conducted a survey that showed that many workers feel their families are suffering because of the number of hours and amount of energy they are putting in on the job. And they are feeling it even though many feel their positions are tenuous because of what they perceive as the ever-impending possibility of being laid off, bought out, downsized or fired.”

Young Urban Women Are “Clocking” the Men

Hanna Rosin • Slate - XX Factor • September 2, 2010

“As for what happens when women get married and have babies: That tragic life scenario is having a lot less of a dent on their earning potential than it used to. Women get married and have children later, and by the time they do, they have a lot more leverage to dictate the terms of their future work—particularly the kinds of women this study covers. It really is not 1982 anymore. If the panicked sexist response is outdated, so is the wary feminist one.”

On Vacation vs. Leisure

Reihan Salam • National Review Online - The Agenda • August 31, 2010

“It’s true that American have fewer paid vacations and paid holidays. But the top 80 to 90 percent of U.S. households have more disposable income than their counterparts in the vast majority of OECD economies. Paid vacation is best understood as a form of non-cash compensation. It’s not obvious that we should collectively choose more paid vacation over more pay, and the lack of mandatory paid-vacation gives employers and employees more flexibility to choose an arrangement that works for them.”

Global News

“Motherhood, the bête noire of 1970s feminism, is emerging as the raison d’être for 2010 feminism.  WHAT’S REALLY going on with women like Olwyn Enright, who quit a full-time job and head for home? It’s convenient to view her move as an isolated one precipitated by the particularly tough working conditions of a rural politician, or to look at it in terms of ‘choice’ and ‘priorities’. But there’s reason to believe something more is going on here: that Enright and all the other mothers who quit jobs to care for families hadn’t any real choice at all.”

Snack Bags and a Regular Paycheck: The Happy Life of a Swedish Dad

Nathan Hegedus • Slate • August 31, 2010

“I am not unemployed, and I am not a stay-at-home dad. I’ve got a ‘real’ job; I just haven’t gone to the office since last December. In total, I’ve spent 18 of the past 36 months on paternity leave here in Sweden, my adopted country, ‘off’ work to care for my two kids. And, yes, I still get paid.  Over the past 15 years, the streets of Stockholm have filled up with men pushing strollers.”