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 8, 2011


Confessions of a Juggler

Tina Fey • New Yorker • February 14, 2011

“ABSTRACT: PERSONAL HISTORY about the writer’s dilemmas as a working mother. The writer’s daughter recently checked out a book from the preschool library called ‘My Working Mom,’ which depicted a witch mother who was very busy and had to fly away to a lot of meetings.”

8 Workplace Perks for New Parents

Alexis Grant • U.S. News and World Report • February 8, 2011

“It’s not easy for new parents to juggle work and family. That’s why some companies offer perks to help employees transition into parenthood while continuing to succeed at the office.  From on-site daycare to flexible work hours to reimbursement for infertility treatments, family-friendly benefits improve employees’ quality of life, which can strengthen loyalty to their employer, says Gina Robison-Billups, founder and CEO of The National Association for Moms in Business.”

Work-issued phone blurs barrier between work, personal life

Cindy Krischer Goodman • Kansas City Star, McClatchy Newspapers • February 8, 2011

“Today, with the overwhelming presence of cell phones, this question emerges: If you take a company-issued cell phone or let your employer pay your bill, does he now own you?  As mobile phones become commonplace work tools, the legal and practical boundaries around the devices are becoming a hot issue. Companies are grappling with policies and a growing number of lawsuits by employers and employees are cropping up over concerns ranging from privacy and liability to expectations and etiquette.”

Major Work Stoppages in 2010

• Bureau of Labor Statistics • February 8, 2011

“In 2010, there were 11 major strikes and lockouts involving 1,000 or more workers and lasting at least one shift, the second lowest annual total since the major work stoppages series began in 1947 […] Average annual major work stoppages have continued to decline by decade.  From 2001-2010, there were approximately 17 major work stoppages on average per year, compared with […] 269 from 1971-1980.”

Flexibility in the Workplace with Howard Ross

Rebecca Roberts, Guest Host • Kojo Nnamdi Show • February 7, 2011

“Flexibility and work-life balance have been buzzwords in the business world for years now. But recently they’ve gained new traction. Major firms are implementing innovative programs that they say are good for the employee as well as the bottom line. We explore new approaches to the work-life divide.”

When Junior’s in Charge

Kristen B. Frasch • Human Resource Executive Online • February 7, 2011

“Records from the Washington-based agency show the number of charges filed under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act rose from 14,141 in 1999 to 22,778 in 2009. Most cases cite unfair terminations and failures to hire. Many also cite harassing references to employees’ ages and younger managers’ failures to promote older workers or accommodate their work/life needs.”

Paying employees for that snow day

Richard Banks • Journal Sentinel, WI • February 7, 2011

“With over 20% of Milwaukee’s residents living in poverty, will those who live and work below the poverty line lose a full day’s pay because of an event over which they had no control? While nature had a very negative impact on the community, the impact of the storm should not become an economic emergency for many employees.”


Flexibility vs. Stimulating Work?

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • February 8, 2011

“A Juggle reader is wrestling with a perplexing question: How important is having job flexibility for family needs vs. having challenging, stimulating work? It is a kind of trade-off faced by countless jugglers, and the answer is never black-and-white.”

Where are men in the work/life conversation?

Selena Rezvani • Washington Post - On Leadership • February 4, 2011

“Only 54 percent of male managers agree that juggling work and family poses an issue, in contrast to 82 percent of women. Similarly, only 20 percent of male managers hold the view that women’s commitment level is questioned at work, while 57 percent of women believe it to be the case. The disparities here beg for more dialogue, hinting that men have been left out of (or have served as non-participants in) some of the conversations to date.”

A Look at the Self-Employed

Catherine Rampell • New York Times - Economix • February 4, 2011

“Why might the self-employment rate have dropped in the couple of years since the financial crisis?  While it’s true that fewer payroll jobs might make self-employment seem more attractive, now is an especially hard time for workers to go it alone. Demand for goods and services is still relatively weak, creating a bad environment for any business, especially a new and thinly staffed one.”

The 80% solution

Juliet Schor • Custom-Fit Workplace • February 4, 2011

“If the US started down the 80% solution road it would make a huge dent in unemployment. Employers could hire 5 people for every 4 jobs that are available. It’s a shorter worktime policy that doesn’t require cutting the hours and pay of people who have jobs. Instead, new people come on at 80% pay and work only 4 days. It’s especially feasible for younger workers who are getting salaries for the first time and for many of whom shorter hours are appealing.”

Global News

£1.35m invested by Government to support carers

Martin Beckford • Telegraph, UK • February 7, 2011

“A total of 79 projects will receive funding to help many of Britain’s six million carers.  Some of the schemes will provide support to young carers who look after elderly relatives or disabled parents, or help older carers find information and advice on flexible working and housing adaptations.  Other projects will help those who unexpectedly find themselves with a caring role – after a family members is injured or falls ill, for instance – cope with their new responsibilities.”