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 4, 2011

Articles

The working poor still have difficult time meeting basic needs despite hard work

Tim Grant • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette • January 4, 2011

“The high unemployment rate has dominated most of the headlines concerning the weak U.S. economy but another part of the story that doesn’t get as much attention is the rising number of working poor who cannot make ends meet.  The Working Poor Families Project recently released a report based on new data from the U.S. Census Bureau that shows nearly 1 in 3 working families in this country are struggling to buy groceries and pay utility bills.”

Go Green: Telecommuting good for workers, employers, environment

Kelly Barth • Lawrence Journal World • January 3, 2011

“Arguably, the greenest improvement in the workplace has been telecommuting, made possible by technologies such as instant messaging, Skype and even e-mail. Not only can working from home reduce traffic and pollution, it can also save employees money they would have spent on meals, professional clothing and gas. Best of all, it reduces stress.”

Job Front: Stability, flexibility rank high in worker survey

Darrell Smith • Sacramento Bee • January 3, 2011

“As families reflected on what they were thankful for this holiday season, employees did,too.  A quarter of U.S. workers said they were most thankful for job stability, according to a survey by Harris Interactive for Heald College.  Heald College’s Workplace Thankfulness Survey, released in late December, asked working Americans what they were most grateful for in their work life besides pay.”

Career Shift Often Means Drop in Living Standards

Catherine Rampell • New York Times • December 31, 2010

“A new study of American workers displaced by the recession sheds light on the sacrifices a large number have made to find work. Many, it turns out, had to switch careers and significantly reduce their living standards.”

Retailers Swipe at Credit-Card Plan

Robin Sidel • Wall Street Journal • December 31, 2010

“Dress Barn Inc., Home Depot Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other companies are urging the Federal Reserve to drop a proposed rule that would require credit-card issuers to consider only a borrower’s ‘independent’ income rather than household income. The new standard, which would apply to new credit-card accounts and requests to increase limits on existing accounts, could make it difficult for some customers to get credit on the spot, especially stay-at-home moms.”

Connecticut Should Set Trend on Paid Sick Leave

Allison Stevens • Women's eNews • December 29, 2010

“The 2010 elections didn’t do a lot for the mom-friendly policy agenda, but there is one cause for New Year’s celebration.  Connecticut Democrat Dan Malloy won his state’s highest office in November. When he moves into the governor’s mansion next month, Connecticut will be poised to become the first state to enact legislation allowing workers to earn paid sick days, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington, D.C.  That could trigger similar action in other states, according to the partnership.”

Blogs

What It Takes to Be a Great Employer

Tony Schwartz • Harvard Business Review Blogs - Tony Schwartz • January 3, 2011

“Treated like children, many employees unconsciously adopt the role to which they’ve been consigned. Feeling disempowered, they lose the confidence and the will to take real initiative or to think independently.  Empower and trust employees to get their work done, and what you’re likely to get back is appreciation, higher motivation and greater commitment. If you’re a leader, why wouldn’t you measure your employees by the value they generate, rather than by the number of hours they work, or how they choose to get it done?”

The Jungle: New Model for Work-Life Balance on Wall Street?

Kyle Stock • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • January 3, 2011

“Flexibility also appeals to a younger generation that rejects the Wall Street ethos that work means sacrificing a personal life. [. . .] Workers can choose their assignments, and, consequently, set their own work hours. Antoine Farris, who has worked at Accordion for about a year, uses the flexible schedule to check in on a Detroit area skateboard and snowboard store in which he owns a minority stake.”

Only Human: 7 Keys to survival when your work lie is rocked by illness

Judy Martin • WorkLifeNation • January 3, 2011

“I’m only human despite being a self-proclaimed work life pundit. Fess-up time.  My life has been less about the work life merge, and more about life and survival lately. As an entrepreneur and freelance journalist navigating a sudden health care mishap, for a time I felt like the gal looks to your left; cloistered and wrapped in my own stuff, due to sudden partial facial paralysis. Now in the healing process, I’m hoping that this post might help others as work life flexibility was the greatest key to moving forward.”

The Dutch Have Daddy Days -- Why Not Us?

Rex Flexibility • Huffington Post • December 31, 2010

“A daddy day! What a concept, right? Actually, what I find most striking is that this sounds so foreign to us. The idea that a man could work 30 hours a week, be a successful doctor, lawyer, or business leader and still take one day off to hang out with his kids simply isn’t in our frame of reference. But why not? As the Dutch have found, offering employees flexible work schedules makes them more productive, not less.”

Global News

Paid parental leave: Baby Keeley born two minutes into scheme

Liz Walsh, Sarah Mennie • News.com.au • January 2, 2011

“LITTLE Keeley Wooder had no idea what all the fuss was about - she was too busy sleeping. But the importance of being one of the first babies born on 1/1/11 began to dawn on her parents when they realised they were among the first in the country to be eligible for the Federal Government’s 18-week paid parental leave scheme.  It is expected more than 150,000 working mothers who give birth this year will benefit from the scheme.”