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?

April 22, 2011

Articles

Mayoral order aims to turn Richmond green

Luz Lazo • Richmond Times-Dispatch • April 22, 2011

“The mayoral order promotes a telework and alternative work schedule initiative. He said he wants at least 20 percent of eligible city employees on such plans by the end of the year. […] The city already has policies in place that support telecommuting and alternative schedules, said Alicia R. Zatcoff, the city’s sustainability manager. She said that aside from environmental benefits, the practice would enhance productivity. She cited studies that show that employees are more productive when they aretelecommuting or have alternative work schedules.”

Flexible jobs = happy worker bees?

CNN Money - Fortune • Katherine Reynolds Lewis • April 20, 2011

“Flexibility is almost mandatory in a 24-7 global economy, when people may be called on to work evenings in an emergency or to connect with international colleagues, says Gallinsky.  Moreover, with 87% of people surveyed by FWI saying that flexibility would be important in their evaluation of a new job, it’s a key element of any human resources package. That’s not to say that flexibility is a magic bullet or is universally embraced in corporate America—a whopping 60% of employees feel they don’t have enough time for themselves, according to the institute’s research.”

“Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis recently was the first player to go on Major League Baseball’s paternity leave list, a move applauded by one Rangers coach.  Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux supports MLB’s move to create the paternity list this year. […]Baseball teams have been unofficially giving paternity leave for a while. Last year, closer Neftali Feliz was unavailable for the Rangers’ game against the Detroit Tigers after the birth of his first child. Yankees first baseman (and former Ranger) Mark Teixeira missed two games at Texas last season due to the birth of his third child.”

Poll: College students get hard lessons in finance

Connie Cass • Associated Press • April 20, 2011

“Most college students - 84 percent - need more than one source of cash to keep up, the poll of people ages 18 to 24 found.  About two-thirds say they work part-time or more to help pay for college. That’s supplemented by another popular source of funds: Mom and Dad. Six in 10 get help from parents. The same number rely on scholarships for part of the bill.”

Reports

SHRM Executive Roundtable on Workplace Flexibility [PDF]

• Society for Human Resource Management •

“This event brought together leading experts on workplace flexibility.  This group included current and former HR practitioners, academicians and researchers, thought leaders, representatives from multiple organizations that focus on the subject of workplace flexibility, policy makers, representatives from the EEOC, and senior members of SHRM’s staff. […]  This report follows the genderal structure of the Roundtable, providing a summary of the key themes from entire event as well as more detailed summaries of each topic discussed.”

Blogs

Sleep Deprivation Weighs On Night Shift Workers

Scott Hensley • NPR - Shots • April 21, 2011

“Czeisler tells Kelly that people can adapt to overnight work, but it’s pretty hard to do. There’s the problem of the sun not being out at night (at least for most of the world most of the time) and human nature. On their days off, people who work nights tend to switch back to the daytime schedules their friends and families keep.  That flip-flopping makes it difficult for the workers to stay alert at night.  The way overnight work is scheduled and inflexibility about napping on the job have complicated the problem, Czeisler says.”

Daddy Days in Federal Court

Joan Williams • Huffington Post • April 21, 2011

“The backstory: In 2008, a pretty standard commercial lawsuit was filed. The trial date was set for June 14, 2011. But the due date of the attorney who had handled much of the case prep (notably the interviews of key witnesses) was July 3. The trial was only estimated to last for four days, but the soon-to-be-father, Bryan Erman, was concerned that the if baby came early, he would not get home to Dallas in time for the delivery. So he asked his opposing counsel, John F. Edgar to agree to move the trial back a bit.  Edgar refused.”

Heading for a McRecovery

Annie Lowrey • Slate • April 19, 2011

“Indeed, the McHiringSpree raises the question: Has the recession turned us into a nation of McWorkers? More precisely, what kind of jobs has the recovery ginned up? […] Despite the gains and the rebounds and the upticks, though, it all adds up to a fairly bleak picture: The jobs we’re adding, for the most part, aren’t great ones. […] The picture contributes to a larger, yet equally depressing, labor-market story: The country has produced far too few good, stable, middle-income jobs over the past 10 or 20 years, not just the past three.”

The Tango Between Work-Life Balance and Corporate Leadership

Judy Martin • Forbes - Work in Progress • April 19, 2011

“We’re living in uncertain economic and social times. There’s a revolution of sorts taking place as women now comprise half the workforce, gender issues in the workplace are daily talking points, duel-income families struggle with childcare while caring for their parents, workers are screaming for more flexible working arrangements and the economy skates on a dance floor of thin ice.”

The Truth About the Remote-Work Trend

Andrew G. Rosen • U.S. News and World Report - On Careers • April 18, 2011

“Common sense and multiple surveys tell us that a majority of workers believe they can do their jobs from home. Even President Obama often extols the virtues of remote work. […]The reality is, most employers are not supportive of remote working. In an attempt to appear progressive, they pretend that flexible schedules are more of an option than they really are.”

Accounting for the Wage Gap

Liza Mundy • Slate - Double X • April 18, 2011

“Anybody genuinely interested in a nuanced breakdown of the wage gap might spend a couple of pleasant hours with the 6th edition of the scrupulously objective economics textbook, The Economics of Women, Men, and Work, by Francine Blau, Marianne Ferber, and Anne Winkler. In an elegant dissection, the authors show that over half of the wage gap can indeed be explained by occupational and industry segregation—women staying out of certain jobs and congregating in others—and by the fact that women as a whole still have less labor market experience than men (something that will change eventually, I’d say), which gives men a wage advantage, simply by dint of the fact that men overall have been in the workplace longer and garnered more seniority and raises. This still, however, leaves a substantial portion of the gap that is unexplained.”

Global News

Longer life expectancy could cheat the poor out of their pensions

Malcolm Wicks • Guardian • April 21, 2011

“Social class variations in mortality relate to a significant difference in patterns of working life. The poorest in our community coming up to pension age over the next 10 or so years often started their working lives at the age of 15 or 16. Many have been working ever since. By contrast, a majority of those from the higher social classes, not least due to the benefit of university education, did not start their careers until the age of 21, or perhaps, given postgraduate qualifications, several years later.  As pension ages increase we should have an early pension entitlement at 65 for those who started work in their mid-teens and have contributed towards their pension for almost 50 years.”

Older workers ‘as productive as younger ones’

Stephen Adams • Telegraph • April 18, 2011

“In fact, ‘productivity rises with age all the way up to retirement’, found the study of German production line workers in a Mercedes-Benz truck factory.  They make fewer serious mistakes and are able to cope better when things do go wrong. [...]The study authors […] said the findings ‘cast doubt’ on economists’ fears that Western countries will become less productive as their populations age.”