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?

February 1, 2011

Articles

Winter Storms: One Argument For More Federal Telework

Rebecca Blatt • WAMU • February 1, 2011

“John Berry, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, says telework is an essential tool in equipping the federal workforce for the 21st century. He says having more people working from home could reduce traffic and pollution while helping to maintain government services, despite severe weather or even a terrorist attack.”

New breastfeeding law could help mothers nursing at work

Eve Tahmincioglu • MSNBC • January 31, 2011

“Many working moms find it challenging to continue to breastfeed when they return to work because there is often little employer support and few if any good locations for them to express milk during the workday.  But that’s all expected to change thanks to a little-known provision in the still-controversial health care bill signed into law by President Barack Obama.  The Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, and for the first time employers will be federally mandated to provide women with breaks and a place to breastfeed.”

Your financial plan depends on your life stage now, not your age

Adam Shell • USA Today • January 31, 2011

“Life is more complicated, more unpredictable and more unsettled today. […]A job loss and bleak job prospects, for instance, mean falling behind on bills, devouring savings and maybe even moving back in with parents or starting your own company out of necessity. Americans are living longer, and that means more adult kids are supporting or caring for aging parents.”

Economics Saved My Marriage

Paula Szuchman • Newsweek • January 30, 2011

“Gary Becker is one of the world’s most famous living economists. He’s won the Nobel Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But could he give relationship advice?  Indeed he could. He’s written a ton on the economics of the family and thinks about it in his own marriage. It’s why his wife does more of the housework, he said. Since his time, on a monetary scale, is more valuable than hers, he spends more of it working in his office and less in the kitchen. Lucky him.”

Mass. Dropout reform plan eyes paid parent leave

Russell Contreras • Associated Press, Boston Globe • January 29, 2011

“A new proposal targeting Massachusetts’ high school dropout rate would track students as early as third grade for warning signs. It would also require businesses to give parents up to 24 hours a year of leave for students’ academic needs.”

Blogs

Harry Reid Takes Social Security ‘Off The Table’

Brian Beutler • Talking Points Memo • January 31, 2011

“Most recently, on Meet the Press, he said he wouldn’t be a part of any effort to undermine the program. But now, he’s taken privatization and raising the retirement age off the table.  That’s significant given a fairly broad consensus among conservative Democrats and Republicans that the retirement age should be bumped up.”

Grading parents: Does this idea deserve an “F”

Maureen Downey • Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Get Schooled • January 30, 2011

“State Rep. Kelli Stargel of Florida has a bill in the works that would require Florida teachers to evaluate parents on how involved they are in their child’s education.  Here are the measures in the bill that teachers would use to rate parents: Student attendance, interactions with teachers, children’s completion of homework and readiness for tests, and children’s physical preparation for school.”

Is a Pregnant Woman “Worthless” at Work?

KJ Dell'Antonia • Slate - XX Factor • January 28, 2011

“’If she has that baby in April and takes off six weeks, she’s worthless to us.’  That’s how an Oklahoma Board of Education member assessed a pregnant, newly hired Jessica Russell. Russell’s new job is to represent the state Department of Education’s interests in the state capitol, but she’s due to give birth in April—right in the middle of the state’s legislative session.”

Volunteering Rate Fell in 2010

Catherine Rampell • New York Times - Economix • January 28, 2011

“The decline was mainly the result of changing volunteer rates by women, from 30.1 percent in 2009 to 29.3 percent in the year ending in September 2010. The volunteer rate for men was essentially unchanged at 23.2 percent. […]As you can see, people who are female, more educated, employed and married are among those most likely to do volunteer work.”

Global News

Aging Germany must keep older workers healthy and happy

John Blau, Author; Mark Hallam, Editor • Deutsche Welle, Germany • February 1, 2011

“People in Germany are living longer. But with a declining birth rate and a pension system under severe strain, Germany’s government and industry also need people to work longer.  Problem is, many employees begin to suffer from chronic aches and pains in their mid-50s and, increasingly, from mental fatigue. As a result, they miss more days of work per year than their younger colleagues.”

Revolt looms over maternity plan

Samantha Maiden • Herald Sun, Australia • January 30, 2011

“Thousands of mothers have applied for the $570-a-week paid parental leave scheme since it was introduced on January 1, according to new figures released by Families Minister Jenny Macklin.  But small business groups are fighting back over demands they administer the scheme after July 1, with a legislative showdown looming when Parliament resumes next month. They warn the scheme and the big fines employers could face are simply not on many employers’ radars.”