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 21, 2011


Balancing Professional Aspirations With Family

Elisabeth Pain • Science Careers • January 21, 2011

“Due to the scarcity of academic positions in science, aspiring scientists are under pressure to perform at the highest possible level. Unfortunately, the decisive years for science careers coincide with prime childbearing years, leading many scientists to postpone having children until they attain a secure position. The effect on women—who, due to persistent social conventions, still tend to be the primary caregivers—is especially profound, but men who wish to be fully involved in raising their children are affected, too.”

New Evidence on Gender Pay Gap

Michael O'Brien • Human Resource Executive Online • January 21, 2011

“Anne York, an associate professor of business at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., wonders if the data would show something different if children were taken into account. [. . .] ‘Because women still bear the majority of childrearing duties within the household, then they often seek jobs with more flexible work arrangements as well as with fewer stressful demands on them, which tend to also be jobs with lower pay,’ she says.”

In Wreckage of Lost Jobs, Lost Power

David Leonhardt • New York Times • January 19, 2011

“Relative to the situation in most other countries — or in this country for most of the last century — American employers operate with few restraints. Unions have withered, at least in the private sector, and courts have grown friendlier to business. Many companies can now come much closer to setting the terms of their relationship with employees, letting them go when they become a drag on profits and relying on remaining workers or temporary ones when business picks up.”

In Japan and Korea, Asian-style Parenting Means Mom Stays Home

Carol Fishman Cohen • Working Mother • January 19, 2011

“An extreme version of the Asian parenting game plays out in Japan and South Korea where mothers are under tremendous pressure from their own husbands, in-laws and parents to remain out of the workforce to focus all of their efforts on enabling their children’s academic achievements. Anything less would be a betrayal of the child and of the entire extended family.”

Rise in number on disability threatens to sink system

John Maggs • Politico • January 19, 2011

“In 1989, disability payments made up $1 in $10 paid by Social Security. Now, they constitute $1 in $5. With payments already exceeding the payroll tax collected for disability insurance, the disability portion of the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2018, 22 years ahead of projections for the Social Security retirement income program.  The Brookings research shows that these increases are not the result of a rise in the number of people who are disabled. Rather, since the program rewards only people who leave the labor force, more and more people do that, and the government tends to automatically grant disability to anyone who sticks with an appeal.”


The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels

Elizabeth Ty Wilde, Lily Batchelder, David T. Ellwood • National Bureau of Economic Research •

“This paper explores how the wage and career consequences of motherhood differ by skill and timing. Past work has often found smaller or even negligible effects from childbearing for high-skill women, but we find the opposite. Wage trajectories diverge sharply for high scoring women after, but not before, they have children, while there is little change for low-skill women. It appears that the lifetime costs of childbearing, especially early childbearing, are particularly high for skilled women.”


Top Ten Blogs of 2010

Judi Casey • Sloan Work and Family Blog • January 19, 2011

“Below are our top ten blog posts of 2010. These most-viewed posts covered a range of work-family issues including sexual assault, flexibility, working families, chronic illness, part-time work and elder care – and confirms my theory that just about everything is related to work-family!”

Paid Family Leave Pays Off in California

Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman • Harvard Business Review Blogs - Research • January 19, 2011

“California’s PFL program has substantially benefited the workers who utilize it, especially workers in low-quality jobs, and has had minimal impact on businesses. Fears expressed by opponents of the program that PFL would create a heavy burden on the state’s employers have not materialized, and some employers even report reductions in costs and improvements in productivity or profitability.”

Federal Payroll Tax Cut in 2011 – Roots for an Individual Worker Credit?

Elaine Maag • Tax Policy Center - Tax Vox • January 19, 2011

“It would provide an individual subsidy to each worker in a couple, as opposed to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – a prominent support for low-income families – which provides a single subsidy based on joint earnings of married couples. A worker credit could provide substantial assistance to childless individuals who often do not qualify for the EITC, encourage work by secondary earners, and improve equity across all workers. Such a credit could also eliminate the onerous marriage penalties faced by low-income single parents whose EITCs can shrink or even disappear when they tie the knot.”

Escape the 10 Tyrannies of Work/Life Balance

Cali Yost • Work+Life Fit Blog • January 18, 2011

“You see, for ten years, I’ve patiently waited for everyone to realize that balance is an anachronism.  A holdover from an Industrial Age, with all of its boundaries and rules, that no longer exists.  […] This outdated concept of ‘balance’ is a major roadblock that stands between us and having true, meaningful flexibility in the way we manage our work, life and careers, because […]”

Global News

Worldwide, 40% Are Employed Full Time for an Employer

Jon Clifton and Jenny Marlar • Gallup • January 19, 2011

“These are the first results Gallup has released from its newly developed global unemployment measures. Based on a series of employment questions Gallup asks respondents in surveys conducted at least once per year in most countries, Gallup quantifies the percentage of the global, regional, and country-level workforce that is employed full time for an employer, underemployed, and unemployed.”

Maternity care: Babies and mothers need a father’s helping hand

Tom Beardshaw • WalesOnline, Western Mail • January 19, 2011

“Mums are crying out for their men to be more involved in their children’s lives, as are many men themselves. But the leave system has been one among many obstacles.  The UK needs a new parental leave system that allows couples to decide for themselves who takes time out of the workplace to care for their babies, beyond an initial period for women to cope with the late stages of pregnancy, birth and recovery from that.”