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 5, 2011

Articles

Poll reveals baby boomers’ retirement fears

Alan Fram • Associated Press • April 5, 2011

“Only 11 percent say they are strongly convinced they will be able to live in comfort.  A total of 55 percent said they were either somewhat or very certain they could retire with financial security. But another 44 percent express little or no faith they’ll have enough money when their careers end.  Further underscoring the financial squeeze, 1 in 4 boomers still working say they’ll never retire. That’s about the same number as those who say they have no retirement savings.”

Working longer hours may make the boss happy, but it could take a toll on your heart

Jeannine Stein • Los Angeles Times • April 4, 2011

“If you find yourself spending extra hours at work, take note: They may take a physical toll. A study released today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that those who put in more than 11 hours a day at their jobs had a greater relative risk of coronary heart disease than those who worked fewer hours.  Researchers looked at data on 7,095 male and female full-time British civil servants ages 39 to 62 who had no evidence of coronary heart disease at the beginning of the study.”

A Commute Too Far

Dennis Nishi • Wall Street Journal • April 3, 2011

“Not only has the recession forced job seekers to widen their search radius, but out-of-reach home prices and households with multiple earners who commute to different workplaces are also major factors in the rise of extreme commuting. […] Most employers are open to accommodating commuters with some scheduling flexibility. Try shifting your working time around the worst rush-hour times. Leaving home an hour earlier or leaving work an hour later can make a big difference in how much time you spend in traffic.”

Gauging the Pain of the Middle Class

Robert H. Frank • New York Times • April 2, 2011

“During the immediate postwar decades, when income distribution was relatively stable, the toil burden for meeting the rent of that median-price home actually declined slightly, from 42.5 hours a month in 1950 to 41.5 in 1970, according to my calculations. […]  By 2000, the median worker had to work 67.4 hours a month to put his or her family into the median home. The toil index thus fell by 2.4 percent from 1950 to 1970, but rose by 62.4 percent from 1970 to 2000. Yet all the while, steadily rising per capita G.D.P. painted a substantially rosier picture.”

More Physicians Say No to Endless Workdays

Gardiner Harris • New York Times • April 1, 2011

“For decades, medicine has been dominated by fiercely independent doctors who owned their practices, worked night and day, had comfortable incomes and rarely saw their families.  But with two babies, Dr. Dewar wants a life different from her father’s and grandfather’s. So instead of being an entrepreneur, she will become an employee of a large corporation working 36 hours a week — half the hours her father and grandfather worked.”

Blogs

Life After 50: Derailed by the ‘Mommy Track’? 10 Tips to Get Back to Work

Barbara Hannah Grufferman • Huffington Post • April 3, 2011

“It’s been over 20 years since Felice Schwartz published an intriguing and inflammatory article in the Harvard Business Review called ‘Management Women and the New Facts of Life,’ which was immediately nicknamed the “Mommy Track.” Ms. Schwartz’s premise was simple: professional women are more diverse than we realize, and quite different from men. Some focus on careers, while others choose to have families, possibly removing themselves from the workforce for a number of years.”

Labor Force Participation Rate Update

• Calculated Risk • April 3, 2011

“The participation rate for women increased significantly from the mid 30s to the mid 70s and has mostly flattened out. The participation rate for men has decreased from the high 90s to 88.7% in March 2011. (down slightly from February)  There will probably be some ‘bounce back’ for both men and women (some of the recent decline is probably cyclical), but the long term trend for men is down.”

As Jobs Improve, Long-Term Unemployment Remains a Big Problem

Daniel Indiviglio • Atlantic - Business • April 1, 2011

“The report made clear that the U.S. employment situation actually getting better, as statistical tricks aren’t driving the positive trend. But there’s one aspect of the unemployment problem that isn’t improving much: the length of time Americans have been out of work.”

Woman Power at Debevoise & Plimpton

Vivia Chen • Law.com - The Careerist • March 31, 2011

“Certainly, Debevoise has an unusually long history of allowing part-time work. […] For Hogan personally, the firm’s policy of keeping part-timers on partnership track was critical: ‘I was part-time for five years from 1997, and I made partner in 1999, when my oldest child was 6.’ (The firm formalized part-time in 1987, and made it explicit that part-timers are eligible for partnership, without being put back for part-time, in 1995.)  What also makes Debevoise’s part-time policy unique is that it is automatic; in other words, there’s no approval process to go part-time.”

Global News

We need a Canada that works for all generations

Paul Kershaw • Vancouver Sun • April 5, 2011

“Canadians aged 25 to 44 are now living as Generation Squeeze. They are squeezed for time. They are squeezed for afterhousing income. And they are squeezed between an aging population, their parents and the next generation, their children.  Why care about Generation Squeeze? The answer is simple. They perform slightly more hours of paid work and more hours of unpaid caregiving than any other group of Canadians. Our economy depends on them, as do our frail seniors and developing children. Despite being essential, this generation can no longer count on an economy in which they can earn a standard of living that approximates what their parents enjoyed - unless, of course, we adapt.”

‘Small business will struggle with new paternity rules’

John Walker, Federation of Small Businesses • Telegraph • April 4, 2011

“Small businesses are the most flexible employers – seven in 10 have flexible working arrangements for their staff. But they do not have the human resources departments that big businesses have to deal with the complex administration of maternity and paternity leave, so they find it difficult to plan and forecast when someone on parental leave will return to work.”

Employers lose their age-old excuse

Jill Insley • Guardian • April 2, 2011

“The structure of your working life could change profoundly from next week, when the phasing out of the default retirement age (DRA) begins. From Wednesday 6 April employers will no longer be allowed to compel employees aged 65 or over to retire on grounds of age. The only employers exempted from this are those that have already given staff between six to 12 months’ notice of enforced retirement at a date beyond next week, but even that transitional arrangement runs out on 1 October.”