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 11, 2011

Articles

Unemployment Solidifies Position as Most Important Problem

Jeffrey M. Jones • Gallup • February 11, 2011

“Thirty-five percent of Americans name unemployment as the most important problem facing the U.S., the highest percentage since the economic slowdown began and higher than at any point since October 1983 (41%). Unemployment is the most important problem for the second month in a row, with the economy ranking second and healthcare third.”

Higher Pay Gains Seen for 2011

Mark Whitehouse • Wall Street Journal • February 11, 2011

“U.S. workers have reason to hope for slightly better pay raises this year, a shift that could add momentum to the economic recovery.  With corporate America sitting on large piles of cash and manufacturers seeing a surge in exports to fast-growing emerging markets, signs are mounting that some of the benefits will start trickling down to employees.”

National Telework Week kicks off Monday, Feb. 14

Michael Keating • GovPro • February 10, 2011

“National Telework Week, an initiative encouraging government agencies to pledge to allow employees to work remotely, runs Feb. 14-18. […] A total of 16,258 pledges to telework during National Telework Week have been received. The estimated quantity of pollutants that will not be discharged into the environment during telework week is 1.5 million pounds.”

“These findings are from the first 12 annual rounds of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, which is a nationally representative survey of about 9,000 young men and women who were born during the years 1980 to 1984. […] The amount of time spent in the labor force also differs by sex. Men with less than a high school diploma spent 61 percent of weeks employed from age 18 to age 23. These men also spent 13 percent of weeks unemployed. By comparison, women with less than a high school diploma spent 45 percent of weeks employed and 9 percent of weeks unemployed from age 18 to age 23.”

Events

Has America’s Economic Engine Run Out of Steam?

• New America Foundation • February 16, 2011

“For half a century, the United States saw a tremendous run in GDP growth at 3.3 percent, spurred by equal increases in both labor and productivity. But as baby boomers retire and the female participation rate plateaus, increases in the labor force will no longer provide the lift to US growth that they once did. Productivity gains have already contributed a full 80 percent of total GDP growth compared with 35 percent in the 1970s. Now the United States may have to do even better than this to counter less favorable demographics.”

Audio Conference: WAGE Act and the Impacts of New Data on Restaurant Workers’ Jobs for Paid Sick Days

• Rep. Donna Edwards, CLASP, ROC, & Family Values • February 14, 2011

“Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, and on Valentine’s Day 2011 Congresswoman Edwards will announce the WAGE Act, the historic bill to address the inequality created by freezing the tipped minimum wage for workers 20 years ago. ROC will also release three reports on the restaurant industries in Washington, D.C., Miami and L.A.”

Hearing on Improving Efforts to Help Unemployed Americans Find Jobs

• Committee on Ways and Means - Subcommittee on Human Resources • February 10, 2011

“The hearing will focus on current policies and programs designed to help unemployed individuals return to work and how they can be improved.”

Blogs

Mandated sick-day policy appears to be working

Kristen Gerencher • MarketWatch - Health Matters • February 11, 2011

“More than four years after San Francisco voters approved an ordinance that forced employers in the city to let their workers earn up to five or nine paid sick days a year, depending on the company’s size, the new requirements appear to be working without substantially dinging businesses’ profitability, according to a new report. But it’s a split picture for low-income, black and Latino workers, who both benefited from the law and were most likely to say their employers weren’t complying with it.”

The Productivity Payoff From the Corporate Lattice

Molly Anderson • Harvard Business Review Blogs - The Conversation • February 9, 2011

“We hear from business leaders who perceive that flexible work is a make-people-feel-good play that disrupts operations and drags down performance. We hear from others who are concerned that 24x7 connectivity means that work is encroaching more and more into all aspects of our lives.  Let’s start by recognizing this change is pervasive and here to stay; neither businesses nor individuals will be able to deny it much longer. In addition to the options multiplying for when and where we work, what kind of work we do and how we do it are changing too.”

Workplace Flexibility: An American Imperative

Avra Siegel • White House Blog • February 8, 2011

“The truth about innovative workplace flexibility policies is catching on: flexibility about when one works, where one works, or how much one works can help employees balance work and personal responsibilities, while simultaneously improving employers’ bottom lines through greater productivity, lower turnover, and reduced absenteeism. In fact, workplace flexibility is a must-have to keep America competitive in a 21st century global economy.”

All the Single Mothers: Winning the Future With Jobs

Jim Gibbons • Huffington Post • February 8, 2011

“Unfortunately, I’ve not seen many stories about the economic plight of one group whose success is absolutely vital to our nation’s future: single mothers.  This is disappointing, because the unemployment rate for single mothers is actually quite shocking. Despite the fact that they’re typically the sole breadwinners for their families, single mothers are twice as likely as married women to be unemployed. Not surprisingly, the recession has made things worse.”

Global News

Work pressure ‘hits relationships’

• Press Association • February 10, 2011

“Almost one in three people have been in a relationship which has suffered because of work pressures, according to a new study.  A survey of 2,000 workers by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) found that a poor work-life balance could ‘drive a wedge’ between partners.  Of the 29% who said they had been affected by a poor work-life balance, the main problems were long working hours and high workloads.”

Flexible working conditions, are employers coming to the part?

Nicholas Tuckfield • Dynamic Business • February 8, 2011

“We are seeing a small but steady increase in requests for more flexible working hours and conditions, including working from home, part-time options, job sharing and remote working. While many such requests come from working parents who want to spend more time with their children, more work flexibility is also a growing priority among other groups. […]There is, however, definitely a disconnect between this rise in demand and the business response.”