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 25, 2011

Articles

Obama asks business leaders to do their part

• Associated Press • February 25, 2011

“The president asked the 22-member council, comprised of business and labor leaders, to come up with new ideas for increasing hiring and boosting economic growth. He listed streamlining regulations and reforming tax laws as steps he would consider for creating jobs and bringing down the unemployment rate, stuck at about 9 percent.”

Flexible Policies, Unchanged Practice

Dan Berrett • Inside Higher Ed • February 25, 2011

“Nearly 8 in 10 medical schools surveyed had tenure clock-stopping policies, which allow those who are eligible for tenure to temporarily—and without penalty—pause the period (be it seven years or eight) in which a candidate must prove him- or herself worthy of tenure, in order to cope with other life issues or priorities. Typically, clock-stopping is used for child care, followed by medical disability, and caring for a sick family member. By comparison, 65 percent of universities had similar provisions, according to a 2009 study by the Center for the Education of Women, at the University of Michigan.”

Telecommuting now metro area’s main alternative to driving solo

Ariel Hart • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • February 24, 2011

“For the first time, state data shows teleworking has surpassed all alternatives to solo driving here as a main commute, including carpooling and mass transit.  Last year, 7 percent of all metro Atlanta commuters teleworked for the majority of their commutes, a three-quarters increase over 2007, according to state Department of Transportation contractors.  The percentage of commuters who telework as just an occasional option also rose, up by a third since 2007, the last time DOT studied the issue.”

The compensation-productivity gap

• Bureau of Labor Statistics - The Editor's Desk • February 24, 2011

“The gap between real hourly compensation and labor productivity is a ‘wage gap’ that indicates whether workers’ compensation is keeping up with productivity. Since the 1970s, growth in inflation-adjusted, or real, hourly compensation—a measure of workers’ purchasing power—has lagged behind labor productivity growth.”

Report decries lack of paid parental leave in US

• Associated Press • February 23, 2011

“Americans often take pride in ways their nation differs from others. But one distinction - lack of a nationwide policy of paid maternity leave - is cited in a new report as an embarrassment that could be redressed at low cost and without harm to employers […] Human Rights Watch, based in New York, focuses most of its investigations on abuses abroad. But on Wednesday, with release of a report by Walsh on work/family policies in the U.S., it takes the relatively unusual step of critiquing a phenomenon affecting tens of millions of Americans.”

Chicago Economist’s ‘Crazy’ Education Idea Wins Ken Griffin’s Backing

Oliver Staley • Bloomberg Markets Magazine • February 23, 2011

“In a later experiment, List and two colleagues posted an ad for an administrative job on Craigslist in 16 cities. About 7,000 job seekers responded and were then given different compensation plans. Some were offered a flat hourly rate while others had to compete for their money.  In general, women shied away from competition, although they were more likely to compete when they operated in teams and when they could earn more than the prevailing wages in their region, the research found. The study helps explain why there are relatively few women executives in fields where promotion is based on competition, List says.”

Reports

Failing its Families

• Human Rights Watch • February 23, 2011

“This report is based on interviews with 64 parents across the country. It documents the health and financial impact on American workers of having little or no paid family leave after childbirth or adoption, employer reticence to offer breastfeeding support or flexible schedules, and workplace discrimination against new parents, especially mothers. Parents said that having scarce or no paid leave contributed to delaying babies’ immunizations, postpartum depression and other health problems, and caused mothers to give up breastfeeding early.”

Blogs

Does Female Ambition Require Sacrifice?

Sylvia Ann Hewlett • Harvard Business Review Blogs • February 25, 2011

“Research conducted by the Center for Work-Life Policy in 2010 confirms that women start out wanting the brass ring almost as badly as men do: 47% of women 30 and younger describe themselves as “very ambitious,” as compared to 62% of men. But this fire burns out, typically during the child-bearing years when pursuing promotions at work clashes headlong with fulfilling dreams on the home front. Only 32% of highly qualified women over 40 describe themselves as very ambitious (compared to 46% of men).”

Pumping at Work: The Government Asks Working Moms How They Do It

Bonnie Rochman • Time - Healthland • February 24, 2011

“Approved in March 2010 as part of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the law requires employers to provide ‘reasonable’ break time and a private place other than a bathroom where a working mom can express breast milk for her nursing baby.  When the DOL comment period ended Tuesday, the agency had received enough submissions to keep dozens of federal employees busy reading for days. They’ll comb through the testimonies and suggestions, culling useful tidbits for inclusion in what amounts to a blueprint it plans to issue soon about how to make pumping at work…work.”

It’s Official – U.S. Department of Labor Advocates Work Life “Fit”

Cali Yost • Work+Life Fit Blog • February 23, 2011

“This is particularly important when addressing the flexibility needs of low wage workers.  Their work+life fit realities, and therefore, the solutions that will work for them and their employers are different from salaried or exempt employees.  The report that outlines those specific solutions, ‘Flexible Workplace Solutions for Low-Wage Hourly Workers’ by Workplace Flexibility 2010 and the Institute for Workplace Innovation, will be released in March, 2011.”

US: Lack of paid leave harms workers, children

Janet Walsh • Custom-Fit Workplace • February 23, 2011

“Millions of US workers – including parents of infants – are harmed by weak or nonexistent laws on paid leave, breastfeeding accommodation, and discrimination against workers with family responsibilities, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Workers face grave health, financial, and career repercussions as a result. US employers miss productivity gains and turnover savings that these cost-effective policies generate in other countries.”

The Lack of Paid Family Leave Hurts Workers, Children, and Our Country

KJ Dell'Antonia • Slate - XX Factor • February 23, 2011

“In the short run, it sounds expensive, and both our federal and state governments are nothing if not short-sighted.  This is tragic, because mandating paid family leave is exactly the kind of thing that the federal government, and only the federal government, should do. Individual states rightly hesitate at the prospect of putting their businesses at a disadvantage relative to businesses across state lines […] Employers, too, aren’t properly incentivized to voluntarily offer paid leave, particularly those who aren’t competing for a specialized workforce.”

Global News

Britain Backs Push for More Women on Company Boards

Julia Werdigier • New York Times • February 24, 2011

“Women should make up at least 25 percent of the boards of the largest British companies by 2015, a report commissioned by the government recommended Thursday.  The report stopped short of suggesting that Britain follow other European countries, including France, Spain and Norway, in introducing compulsory quotas. But it seeks to increase the pressure on British companies to improve gender equality by asking companies to be more transparent about the gender balance in top position”