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 22, 2011

Articles

America Last Among Peers With No Paid Maternity Leave for Federal Workers

Dune Lawrence and Alison Fitzgerald • Bloomberg • February 22, 2011

“The U.S. is one of three nations of 181 studied by Harvard and McGill universities that don’t guarantee working mothers leave with compensation, and researchers say it pays the price in lost productivity and health risks for children. The two other countries are Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.”

A fine weave of family, work

Jenn Abelson • Boston Globe • February 22, 2011

“MoJo, short for Moms and Jobs, is no big-government spending project or private charity. It’s a for-profit company that sells apparel to campuses, corporations, and consumers with a stated goal to improve the lives of single mothers, who are disproportionately represented among the poor.  MoJo’s business model: Do well by doing good.”

Understanding Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

James Sherk • Heritage Foundation • February 22, 2011

“When a worker takes intermittent leave or takes off work without providing advance notice, employers may not be able to find a replacement worker in time. Instead, two-thirds of employers respond by reassigning the absent worker’s tasks to the conscientious employees still working. Workers who misuse sick leave thus force responsible co-workers to cope with a heavier workload.”

Where Have The Good Men Gone?

Kay S. Hymowitz • Wall Street Journal • February 19, 2011

“Today’s pre-adults are a different matter. They are a major demographic event.  What also makes pre-adulthood something new is its radical reversal of the sexual hierarchy. Among pre-adults, women are the first sex. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they have higher GPAs. As most professors tell it, they also have more confidence and drive. These strengths carry women through their 20s, when they are more likely than men to be in grad school and making strides in the workplace. In a number of cities, they are even out-earning their brothers and boyfriends.”

Blogs

The Best Things in Workplaces Aren’t Free

Megan McArdle • Atlantic - Business • February 22, 2011

“To start with, there is really no such thing as ‘paid’ vacation; your employer is paying you for the work you’ve done, not for spending a week on the beach in Cabo.  You’re just spreading a slightly higher average hourly wage over a longer period, so it seems like you’re taking a lower wage in exchange for more days off.  Moreover, these days off often have an additional cost to employers—there are efficiency losses because you’re not around to coordinate with other employees, and they may have to hire a substitute, who is unlikely to be as productive as the worker that they are temporarily replacing.”

Why managers should telecommute

Lily Whiteman • Federal Times • February 21, 2011

“If you don’t trust your staff to keep working, consider taking training for managers on leadership skills or on teleworking, which are already offered by some agencies and may soon be offered by other agencies under the new Telework Enhancement Act, which is designed to increase teleworking by feds. Such training may provide you with strategies for increasing employee productivity when they are receiving less supervision.”

Feeling Stressed? Blame Your Raise

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • February 21, 2011

“Individuals who make more money tend to feel more time pressure, after controlling for a wide range of factors, according to ‘Time Is Tight,’ an article in the latest issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology. The authors drew on an economic principle to explain the finding: The more value we assign to our time, the scarcer it seems to us.”

DOL conference points to changes coming to work-family

Ellen Ernst Kossek • Custom-Fit Workplace • February 21, 2011

“Workplace polices and practices have not caught up with a 21st century workforce’s need for flexibility in hours and scheduling. Fathers, mothers, younger and older workers all need flexibility to care for children, elders leaving the hospital sicker.  Flexibility is essential to care for families. It is essential for workers to stay employed in this challenging economy while caring for families.”

Gaining a Competitive Edge in the Global Economy – Using Flexibility with Hourly Workers and in Healthcare

Yvonne Siu • Corporate Voices for Working Families • February 21, 2011

“The common thread running through the discussions at the Pasadena and Seattle Flexibility Dialogues was that workplace flexibility is a business imperative that applies to many industries, to large businesses and small, and can be used to reduce labor costs with a low-wage, hourly workforce to give businesses a competitive advantage in the global economy.”

Global News

Women Still Face Barriers in Hong Kong

Bettina Wassener • New York Times • February 21, 2011

“Thanks perhaps to Hong Kong’s special blend of decades of British colonial rule and ties to mainland China, where Communism formally embraced gender equality 60 years ago, women’s rights and gender equality are well enshrined in the legal system. As even a casual visitor can observe, women are well represented in the civil service. They account for just more than half of university enrollments, and rates of participation by women in the work force are significantly higher than they once were. And yet, only 11 of the Hong Kong Legislative Council’s 60 members are women. The judiciary, too, is male-dominated: All 21 judges of the Court of Final Appeal, for example, are men.”