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 4, 2011


Weather Hurt U.S. Job Growth in January

Motoko Rich • New York Times • February 4, 2011

“The United States labor market slowed to a crawl in January, adding just 36,000 jobs last month, far below consensus market forecasts.  With 13.9 million people still out of work, the unemployment rate actually fell to 9 percent.  The disappointing jobs number, restrained by the January snowstorms and government layoffs, was far below what economists generally say is needed to merely keep pace with normal growth.”

Children’s body mass index rises the longer mom works

Shari Roan • Los Angeles Times • February 4, 2011

“Children’s chances of becoming overweight rise the longer their mothers work outside the home, researchers said Friday.  Weight problems among children have soared in the past three decades, as more women have joined the workforce. A consortium of researchers led by Taryn W. Morrissey of American University examined the relationship between kids’ weight and mothers’ work schedules and what factors about a woman’s work might contribute to child weight gain.”

Paid family leave’s secret weapon: men

Jeremy Adam Smith • San Francisco Chronicle • February 3, 2011

“In discussions with men around the country, I have heard heartbreaking stories about how they didn’t get any parental leave at all. It’s critical that these voices are part of the paid family leave debate - for the right has been successful in its effort to block Obama’s $50 million for state-level programs. As the proposal moved through the budget process, it was cut to $10 million - and is now frozen by congressional gridlock.”

Mullen: Workplace Flexibility Focuses on Families, Children

Cheryl Pellerin • U.S. Department of Defense • February 1, 2011

“Military families, and especially children in those families who have grown up against the backdrop of 10 years of war, are the focus of the military’s effort to make workplace flexibility an increased priority, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Feb. 1.  Navy Adm. Mike Mullen spoke during a news conference announcing a new partnership on workplace flexibility between the Society for Human Resource Management and the Families and Work Institute.”

New Conference Focuses on Workplace Flexibility

Kathy Gurchiek • Society for Human Resource Management • February 1, 2011

“The Work-Life Focus 2012 and Beyond Conference is slated for November 2011 in Washington, D.C. It will bring together the best experts in the work/life field and provide information and resources to help businesses successfully implement workplace flexibility, said Henry G. ‘Hank’ Jackson, SHRM’s interim president and CEO.  Detailed conference information and registration will be available March 2011.”


The State of Working America

• Economic Policy Institute • February 14, 2011

“The State of Working America has been the Economic Policy Institute’s flagship publication since 1988. The comprehensive economic data that has in the past been in book form is now available on this Web site for the first time in a searchable and highly user-friendly format. The data will be more accessible than ever before to academics, policy makers, the media, and the public. Unlike in the past, this year’s The State of Working America will not be published in book form (the next biennial print edition will appear in January 2013).”


Flexible offices maintain productivity, reduce stress

Bruce DePuyt • TBD - NewsTalk • February 3, 2011

“The Washington region, which suffers from the nation’s worst traffic, reaps benefits every time an employer allows his or her workers to telecommute, shift their hours or participate in other ‘flexible’ work arrangements.  That’s the view of Mary Abbajay, a workplace consultant and cofounder of Careerstone Group.”

Women Doctors Face $17,000 Pay Gap

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • February 3, 2011

“The pay disparity exists even after the researchers accounted for factors such as medical specialty, hours worked and practice type. […] Anthony Lo Sasso, the lead researcher on the study […] said the pay gap may exist because women doctors are seeking greater flexibility and family-friendly benefits, such as not being on call after certain hours.”

Is Marriage Rational?

Jacob Goldstein • NPR - Planet Money • February 3, 2011

“The authors of a new book called Spousonomics asked the behavioral economist Dan Ariely a bunch of questions about marriage. He sent them this video answer. […] In economic terms, marriage is a ‘production facility,’ something that people do to share work and live more efficiently. ‘That describes very little of married life,’ Ariely says.”

Marriage On The Decline

Matthew Yglesias • Yglesias • February 3, 2011

“I’m not the type to get nostalgic about the good old days of patriarchy, but the fact of the matter is that from a strictly economic point of view a married couple household is a much more efficient arrangement than the one-adult alternative.”

How Can You Tell If Workplace Flexibility Is Working? Ask the Employees

Kathleen Christensen • Huffington Post • February 1, 2011

“Today, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)—the world’s largest association of HR professionals around the world, with more than 575 affiliated chapters—announced it will partner with FWI to expand the awards to more companies in communities all over the country. This is great news, because it will give every business leader more examples of the many ways workplace flexibility programs can be successfully implemented.”

Global News

The Youth Unemployment Bomb

Peter Coy • BusinessWeek • February 2, 2011

“While the details differ from one nation to the next, the common element is failure—not just of young people to find a place in society, but of society itself to harness the energy, intelligence, and enthusiasm of the next generation. Here’s what makes it extra-worrisome: The world is aging. In many countries the young are being crushed by a gerontocracy of older workers who appear determined to cling to the better jobs as long as possible and then, when they do retire, demand impossibly rich private and public pensions that the younger generation will be forced to shoulder.  In short, the fissure between young and old is deepening.”