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?

March 11, 2011


Don’t Stop Working!

Emily Yoffe • Slate • March 10, 2011

“Retirement is usually seen as the severing of oneself from the work of a lifetime. Friedman, who is 60, dislikes this notion, and from his research he’s come to believe such an attitude is bad both for society and individuals. Of course, for those in miserable work situations, a departure can mean liberation. But most of the Terman males (given the attitudes of the times, far fewer of the women Termites worked) had solid, sometimes even exceptional careers. Interviews done with successful Termites in their 70s, several of them lawyers, showed a striking number continued to work part time. For those who contemplate retirement as decades filled with leisure and relaxation, The Longevity Project serves as a warning.”

Oregon bill expands family-leave law

Peter Wong • Statesman Journal • March 9, 2011

“Senate Bill 506 would allow a maximum of two weeks under family-leave law – up to six weeks with medical authorization – for an employee to deal with the death of a family member.  The definition of family is in the law, which was originally passed in 1991 but has been expanded.  The time off would have to be drawn against the authorized amount of leave, which is often unpaid.”

The Working Guilty

Romy Ribitzky • Portfolio • March 9, 2011

“Many Americans find themselves taking their work home with them. But when it comes to how they feel about their office responsibilities infringing on their personal lives, women tend to feel guilty about having to juggle the demands of a career with the demands of family, according to a new study.”

Paid Family Leave

Lauren Damme • New America Foundation • March 9, 2011

“The U.S. is the only wealthy country in the world without a system of paid leave to support working families. The experiences of developed nations show that economic growth is not undermined by policies that allow parents to spend adequate time with their newborn children. Equally important, paid parental leave policies are associated with lower infant mortality rates, better cognitive test scores and fewer behavioral problems for children, as well as fewer negative labor market consequences for mothers.”

Flex in Flux

David Shadovitz • Human Resource Executive Online • March 8, 2011

“Workplace flexibility is alive and well in many companies these days, at least in some form. But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t show up in the company handbook.  In a recent study of 537 HR professionals at U.S. employers by WorldatWork, nearly all of the respondents (98 percent) said they offer at least one workplace-flexibility program. But six of 10 described their initiatives as being informal, meaning there were no written policies or forms.”

“Any parent can tell you that raising a child is emotionally and intellectually draining. Despite their tales of professional sacrifice, financial hardship, and declines in marital satisfaction, many parents continue to insist that their children are an essential source of happiness and fulfillment in their lives. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that parents create rosy pictures of parental joy as a way to justify the huge investment that kids require.”


Education and Women in the Labor Market

Laura D'Andrea Tyson • New York Times - Economix • March 11, 2011

“During the last several decades, the median real earnings of women have outperformed those of men, not just for college-educated workers but for all levels of education. Although both women and men with less than a high school diploma suffered a significant decline in real median earnings between 1979 and 2009, the decline for women was only 9 percent, compared with a decline of 28 percent for men.”

Saving Gas and Reducing Traffic from the Comfort of your Home

Deron Lovaas • NRDC - Switchboard • March 10, 2011

“The Mobility Choice coalition just published a paper on telecommuting authored by my colleague Justin Horner […] This is not a new concept, of course. But it is worth revisiting in the context of 21st century technology and 21st century oil prices. More and more of us are connecting with our workplaces via high-speed internet, broadband and satellite communications networks. So why not commute that way too?  The paper walks through telecommuting and who is well-suited for it; the pool of potential teleworkers is large including much of the federal workforce.”

Women Lead in Unpaid Work

Catherine Rampell • New York Times - Economix • March 10, 2011

“Not only do women earn less for similar work, they also do more work for no pay at all. […] As you can see, in every country for which the organization had data, women spent much more time than men on unpaid work like child care and household chores like cooking and cleaning. Across the O.E.C.D., the average gap between time spent by women and by men on unpaid work is about two and a half hours.”

Do Daughters Help Ease Gender Pay Gap?

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • March 9, 2011

“The researchers found that when male CEOs had daughters, the wage gap closed by 0.5 percentage points, on average, at their firms in the same calendar year, and if a CEO’s first born happened to be a daughter, the wage gap closed by nearly 3 percentage points. […]The birth of a son, however, had no effect on the wage gap. And the researchers found no changes in the relative wages of women and men when female CEOs had children.”

Justice, Gender, and the Family

Matthew Yglesias • Yglesias • March 8, 2011

“The broader point is that people shouldn’t go around glibly saying things like ‘women are in such-and-such situation on average because of their choices, not discrimination.’ What you need to ask yourself is ‘if women had had equal voice to men over the course of the previous 500 years of constructing our social and political institutions, would they have been set up so as to punish women’s “choices” in this way?’ The implications here are much deeper than tacking non-discrimination clauses onto this or that bill.”

This Lent, Give Up Your Inflexible Workday

David Gray • Huffington Post • March 8, 2011

“We all have life needs we need to fit together, whether they are raising children, caring for loved ones, observing our religion or just pursuing our own non-work interests. Most employees appreciate support for what is important to them outside of work and it shows in their job performance. When workplaces are flexible, employees and employers both win.”

Why You Don’t Believe that Kids Don’t Make You Happier

Will Wilkinson • Forbes - Prefrontal Nudity • March 4, 2011

“That children tend to make us less happy is likely the most strongly-resisted finding of happiness research. This makes sense. A species easily persuaded of the misery of parenting is destined to strike a self-inflicted blow against biodiversity. So it is imperative that we come equipped with tools for tricking ourselves into thinking it grand to breed.  A new study in Psychological Science by Richard Eibach and Steven Mock, psychologists at the University of Waterloo, helps explain how we pull off this grand feat of self-deception.”

Global News

“Mrs Kolmsee is married with children and shares the raising of them with her husband. They juggle their tight time to maintain a family life.  But it is not the German way.  ‘The whole family thing, that mothers should be there for their children, is ingrained in German society,’ she says.  ‘With that in mind, either women don’t push a career so much or even if they want to do it they are held back by family and friends or people in the workplace.’”