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?

April 15, 2011


A Testy Bloomberg Emerges in Discrimination Case

David W. Chen • New York Times • April 14, 2011

“At one point in his testimony, Mr. Bloomberg mocked flexible work schedules and telecommuting by suggesting an alternative to videotaping his testimony from the discomfort of his lawyers’ offices. […] Such moments of thrust and parry, irritability and self-assuredness bordering on cockiness are perhaps the most striking parts of Mr. Bloomberg’s deposition in a federal discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg L.P […] Mr. Bloomberg’s comments had never been made public. A few excerpts were included in a filing by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dated April 8.”

More Americans leaving workforce

Dennis Cauchon • USA Today • April 14, 2011

“The share of the population that is working fell to its lowest level last year since women started entering the workforce in large numbers three decades ago, a USA TODAY analysis finds. Only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.  The bad economy, an aging population and a plateau in women working are contributing to changes that pose serious challenges for financing the nation’s social programs.”

A Boon for Nannies, if Only They Knew

Krik Semple • New York Times • April 14, 2011

“More than seven months after the bill was signed into law with some fanfare, most domestic workers and their employers seem unaware of it […]  The law is the only one in the nation to offer specific protections for domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly. The result of years of ardent advocacy and political wrangling, it allows temporary disability benefits for full-time home workers, and provides redress for workplace sexual harassment and discrimination. It requires employers to pay time-and-a-half for overtime work and to provide at least three vacation days a year, and it enshrines a legal workday of eight hours and a workweek of 40 hours, or 44 for live-in workers.”

Can flexible workplaces change the way we do business?

• Minnesota Public Radio • April 13, 2011

“From Best Buy to The Gap to Hennepin County, the Results-Only Workplace Environment (ROWE) model is gaining momentum in Minnesota and abroad. Midmorning looks at the impact of a more flexible workplace on productivity, job satisfaction, family life, and health.”

Work-life Wednesday: Workplace flexibility

Kim Carrigan • FOX 25 Boston • April 13, 2011

“It’s an idea that has taken off with many forward thinking companies, and now, even those that have not been on board are considering the idea.  It’s more flex time work for employees, specifically, men who are taking on a greater role at home.”

Bill voiding sick leave law sent to Walker

Patrick Marley • Journal Sentinel • April 12, 2011

“Milwaukee’s ordinance requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave would be voided under a bill Assembly Republicans sent Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday.  Walker said he is likely to sign the measure. The city’s sick leave ordinance was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2008 but has never gone into effect because of legal challenges. The Assembly voted 59-35 to ensure it would never be implemented.”

Recession Squeezes Disabled Workers Out Of Jobs

Charles Lane • NPR • April 12, 2011

“During the recession, employers combined job descriptions so they could do more with fewer workers. This trend squeezes out people with developmental disabilities who typically have a more limited set of job skills.”


Working Best at Coffee Shops

Conor Friedersdorf • Atlantic - Business • April 15, 2011

“In many ways, however, the golden age of the coffeehouse workday is now, as any barista can attest. Over the last decade, I’ve done a fair amount of work in traditional offices, where I am least efficient, various apartments, where I tend to work longer and more productive hours, and a string of coffee shops, the places where I’ve turned out the most usable words per working minute.”

How Parenting Matters

David Leonhardt • New York Times - Economix • April 14, 2011

“Jane Waldfogel, a Columbia University professor who specializes in research on children, is the author of ‘Britain’s War on Poverty,’ which was published last year. She previously wrote, ‘What Children Need,’ an overview of research on child development. Several of Ms. Waldfogel’s research papers are available from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Our conversation follows.”

Work-Life Balance for Everyone

Kimberly Weisul • BNET - Leadership Lab • April 13, 2011

“A new study from the Center for WorkLife Law looks at the impact of so-called just-in-time scheduling on absenteeism and turnover among hourly employees, and makes some creative suggestions for getting more flexibility to those who need it to be productive employees.  Just-in-time scheduling requires managers to maintain a fixed ratio of hours worked to sales, foot traffic, inbound calls (at a call center) or other measures. “

Do Women Feel More Guilt than Men?

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • April 13, 2011

“While all women reported increased feelings of guilt and distress when work spilled into home life in these ways, mothers with young children suffered more negative feelings than other women. Men, meanwhile, seemed to take intrusions by work in stride.  Other research has shown that the impact on kids of mothers’ working is largely neutral in the first year. Nevertheless, the study shows that despite rapid growth in dual-earner households, significant gender differences remain, the authors say.”

Measuring the Impact of Telework Week

• Business Insider - Small Business Trends • April 13, 2011

“I’ve long been an advocate of allowing employees to work remotely if at all possible. As a manger, I’ve found that enabling remote work at least part of the time boosts employee morale, loyalty and productivity.  The results of an experiment conducted this year bear me out.”

The Myth of the Irrational Mother

Will Wilkinson • Wall Street Journal - Ideas Market • April 12, 2011

“But Mr. Caplan offers us no analogous theory of the rationally irrational mother. He simply begins with the ad hoc hypothesis that mothers are forgoing body-reconfiguring pregnancy, excruciating childbirth and the massive time-cost of additional children (which women disproportionately shoulder) not because they are rational beings taking into full account the manifold considerations relevant to profoundly life-shaping choices, but because they are in error about the power of parenting to shape ‘adult outcomes.’”

A Scorecard for Companies With a Conscience

Tina Rosenberg • New York Times - Opinionator • April 11, 2011

“What’s a triple-bottom-line business to do?  In 2000 there was no recourse. Now there is: become a B Corp.  To become a certified B Corp, or benefit corporation, a business must pass an examination of how it treats its employees, the environment and the community. A non-profit organization called B Lab sets out the requirements and certifies businesses that meet the standard. The idea is that while any company can claim to be a good corporate citizen, a B Corp can prove it — something valuable for consumers and investors.”

Global News

Quebec ‘certifies’ firms for work-life balance

Bertrand Marotte • Globe and Mail • April 13, 2011

“Quebec is touting a new business certification as an innovative way to put the province at the forefront of the work-life balance movement.  Whatever its merits – and not everyone is convinced of the benefits – the Work-Family Balance accreditation is being touted as the first government-initiated program of its kind in the world. ‘This standard is a seal of excellence that sends the message that Quebec promotes the right balance between work and family,’ said Yolande James, the province’s minister in charge of family matters.”

Related:  “How to get accredited,” by Bertrand Marotte of the Globe and Mail:

Action for Happiness movement launches with free hugs and love

Alexandra Topping • Guardian • April 12, 2011

“’Despite the fact that we are getting richer, after 60 years we still haven’t managed to produce a happier society,’ said Professor Richard Layard, head of the wellbeing programme at the London School of Economics. […] Founded last year, [Action for Happiness] requires members […] to set up action groups to promote happiness wherever possible: at work, at home or in the community.”