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?

January 14, 2011

Articles

Snowed in with kids, still working

Kevin Green • Atlanta Journal Constitution • January 13, 2011

“The nearly 500,000 people in metro Atlanta who telework at least occasionally probably have appreciated this fact these past few days. They were better positioned to remain productive, stay on top of the inbox and avoid the frustration of not being able to complete time-sensitive tasks. For employers unprepared, with no telework plan or policy, this week could be considered a missed opportunity, or a lesson learned.”

Tense time for workers, as career paths fade away

Rick Hampson • USA Today • January 13, 2011

“An old vision of the post-industrial future — that work could be done by machines but nothing would take work’s place — is being realized with a vengeance in the second decade of the 21st century.  Although most economists expect the U.S. job market to register at least small gains this year, many Americans who have a job still fear losing it. Many who don’t have a job fear they never will find one. And many in both camps worry that the recession, which officially ended a year and a half ago, speeded up inevitable changes in the workplace.”

Migration Declines Further: Stalling Brain Gains and Ambitions

William H. Frey • Brookings Institution • January 12, 2011

“The stall has affected college graduates and young adults—groups usually among the most mobile and coveted—which tend to be the lifeblood of the labor force and responsive to shifts in national job networks.  Between 2008 and 2010, the annual interstate migration of this group fell to 2.1 percent, well below the levels of 3 percent and above earlier this decade and in the 1990s.  This is indicative of young adults encountering a brutal job market, as many double up or remain at home with their parents or other families.”

Charges of Bias at Work Hit Record

Wall Street Journal • Melanie Trottman • January 12, 2011

“Private-sector workers filed a record number of discrimination charges against employers during fiscal 2010, an increase business groups and attorneys attributed primarily to the strained economy.  The number of charges filed with the EEOC rose to nearly 100,000, up 7% from the year-earlier period and 21% from fiscal 2007.”

California family leave program gets high marks in study

Alana Semuels • Los Angeles Times • January 11, 2011

“Nearly a decade after California legislators passed the nation’s first paid family leave law, researchers say the downside for businesses has been minimal while thousands of families have seen their working lives improve.  Men are spending more time with their newborns. Women are breastfeeding more. And workers who take family leave enjoy their jobs more. Those are some of the conclusions of a new study by Eileen Applebaum, senior economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington, and Ruth Milkman, professor of sociology at UCLA and City University of New York.”

Telecommuting is Good for Employees and Employers

Tony Bradley • PC World • January 11, 2011

“The tedious standard of spending 40 hours a week sitting in a cubicle is fading as employers and workers both embrace the benefits associated with telecommuting. When you pay workers for their time, they’re willing to give you as much of it as you are willing to pay for. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re maximizing productivity during that time.”

Blogs

But What About Me? The Workplace Flexibility Gap

Kathleen E. Christensen • Huffington Post • January 12, 2011

“If managers are held accountable during their annual reviews for how well and how fairly they implement flexibility to achieve business ends, we will then see unevenness dissipating and the flexibility gap closing. Companies that want to say they are truly walking the walk on workplace flexibility (and reap the business benefits) can’t just offer flexibility to some workers—they need to set up a system of accountability so that everyone is able to find some flexibility.”

3 Dangers of Making “Recruitment and Retention” the Only Reason for Workplace Flexibility

Cali Williams Yost • Fast Company - Expert Blog • January 12, 2011

“Flexibility is not a red carpet you can roll out in good times and roll back in at the first signs of trouble. You get one, maybe two, shots at promoting greater flexibility in your workplace. Initially, people will trust you and try it. But they’ll be watching. If flexibility is perceived to not work as promised, hurts someone’s career, or becomes a flavor of the month, it will be very hard to get buy-in the next time. That doesn’t mean flexibility shouldn’t adapt to changing realities. It just can’t disappear.”

They Don’t Know Beans

Vivia Chen • Careerist • January 12, 2011

“The big accounting firms are huge operations where there’s more routine work that lends itself to flexible work arrangements, adds consultant Peter Zeughauser. If law firms offered more training and emphasized a team approach, they could offer the wide-ranging flexibility like that available in accounting firms, says Henderson.”

A glass ceiling, by any other name…

Selena Rezvani • Washington Post - On Leadership • January 11, 2011

“Over the last 25 years we’ve heard different names for women’s work predicaments : a maternal wall, a sticky floor, the mommy track, a labyrinth and, of course, the glass ceiling. Such monikers attempt to boil down in a neat, bite-size nugget some extraordinarily nuanced social dynamics. Has such language served to help women by uncovering veiled unfairness, or do these labels actually hinder progress?”

Global News

Scrapping of retirement age backed

• Press Association, UK • January 13, 2011

“Campaigners against ageism have hailed Government action to stop employers forcing workers to retire at 65.  Under the measures, being phased in between April and October, bosses will no longer be able to set a mandatory age for retirement except in a few occupations, such as police officers and air traffic controllers.”