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 15, 2011

Articles

Women are more likely than men to give up sleep to care for children and others

Charity M. Brown • Washington Post • February 14, 2011

“Among dual-income couples with a child younger than 1, 32 percent of women reported sleep interruptions on a given 24-hour period, compared with 11 percent of men. For those with children ages 3 to 5, 3 percent of mothers and 1 percent of fathers experienced interrupted sleep. Overall, after controlling the data for differences in work commitment, partnership status and other factors, Burgard said, mothers took ‘the night shift of caretaking’ about 21/2 times as often as fathers.”

Too many hours on the job could put high school teens at risk

Sophie Terbush • USA Today • February 14, 2011

“For high school students, working more than 20 hours a week at a part-time job could be doing more harm than good, a new study suggests. […]According to the study, students who worked more than 20 hours a week had lower expectations for educational attainment, lower school engagement, higher levels of substance abuse, and other problem behavior.”

Married to the Job (And Each Other)

Colleen Debaise, Sarah E. Needleman, and Emily Maltby • Wall Street Journal • February 14, 2011

“About a third of all family businesses are husband-and-wife teams. While some sweethearts can handle the dual pressure of building a relationship and a company, many others warn it’s a difficult path. The constant interaction, the strain of juggling work and personal life, and the trials of entrepreneurship—especially in a difficult economy—can take a toll.”

“This survey of more than 500 HR professionals and WorldatWork members found that flexibility is, in fact, flexible. Part-time schedules, flex-time and teleworking on an ad hoc basis top the list of offerings. These programs are each offered to some or all employees in more than 80% of companies, with 68% offering all three forms of flexibility. Other flexibility programs surveyed — and found to be less prevalent — include compressed workweek, job sharing, phased retirement, and career on and off ramps. On average, organizations offer six flexibility programs in varied ways to employees in varied positions.”

Mandatory paid sick leave: How has it worked in San Francisco?

Daniel B. Wood • Christian Science Monitor • February 11, 2011

“When San Francisco four years ago became the first city in the country to require employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees, it was considered controversial because of the host of unknowns that came alongside: Would employees abuse the privilege? Would it cost too much for businesses? What unintended consequences would show up? Now, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has released a survey of how the policy has worked for the first four years, during which city employers added 59,000 employees – 17 percent of the city’s work force – to the rolls of those receiving that benefit.”

Blogs

Rethink Workplace Flexibility

Brett Caine • Huffington Post • February 14, 2011

“With February 14-18 being National Telework Week, now’s a great time to rethink your company’s approach to workplace flexibility. The way we work is increasingly becoming more dispersed and mobile, with business spanning time zones and borders. It is estimated that the number of worldwide mobile workers will reach one billion by 2011, which includes nearly 75 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to David Clemons and Michael Kroth, authors of Managing The Mobile Workforce.”

If They Tax, Do We Relax?

Brian Palmer • Slate • February 14, 2011

“Mainstream economists agree that when marginal tax rates increase, the wealthiest Americans report less taxable income. But little of that decrease has to do with working less hard. […] According to economist Jonathan Gruber of MIT, dips in taxable income wipe out more than half of the potential revenue from a tax hike on the affluent, but less than one-fourth of that effect derives from actual losses in productivity.”

The Plight of Generation Un

Nancy Folbre • New York Times - Economix • February 14, 2011

“Policies governing access to public assistance have also reduced opportunities for young adults to improve their skills.  Empirical research exploiting differences in the date at which states implemented new welfare rules in the 1990s shows that stricter requirements that they work caused lower college enrollment among adult women by about 20 percent.  A new paper just published online by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that these rules also reduced participation in vocational education and job training, especially among less-educated parents.”

The False Choice: A Flexible Job or a Good Job?

Kathleen E. Christensen • Huffington Post • February 13, 2011

“It’s not just working moms, but employees of all stripes who face this quandary: to take the flexible job or the good job? But it raises a more important question: why is this employee—clearly talented enough to hold a challenging position—only offered flexibility if she takes a worse job? Instead, why can’t she and her employer work together to find a way to make the job she has more flexible?  The answer, of course, is that making a challenging job flexible is, well…challenging. But it’s not impossible.”

Global News

Trying to get over the maternal wall

Sheila Wayman • Irish Times • February 15, 2011

“It is a question that is central to the ‘maternal wall’ which women encounter in the workplace. The stalling of women’s careers is a clear phenomenon and while it can be through personal choice, other factors include cultural attitudes, availability of childcare, ‘old school’ work practices and a presumption that they will never be as interested in their job again.  A UK survey of 1,000 companies last month showed that 38 per cent fear that working mothers may show less flexibility and commitment than other employees. Meanwhile, women know that taking time out can do irreparable damage to their job prospects.”

University offers daddy of all parental leave schemes

Paul Bibby • Sydney Morning Herald, Australia • February 15, 2011

“IT IS arguably the most generous paid parental leave scheme in the country - one to rival the much-vaunted policies of employers in Sweden and Denmark.  Within a few weeks, new mothers and fathers at the Australian Catholic University will be entitled to 40 weeks’ paid leave at 60 per cent of their normal pay.  This is on top of the 12 weeks’ maternity leave on full pay for women and three weeks for men the university already provides, and the federal government’s payment of $543 a week for up to 18 weeks.”

Over-50s hit hard by economic downturn

Jill Insley • Guardian, UK • February 15, 2011

“People aged 50 and over are suffering falling incomes, higher than average inflation and higher unemployment, according to research by Saga, consumer body for the over-50s.  The Saga quarterly report, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Populus, questioned more than 10,000 people over 50, analysing their economic position, well-being, happiness, worries and living standards.”