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?

May 13, 2011

Articles

The Endangered Middle Class: Is the American Dream Slipping out of Reach for American Families

Heather Boushey • Center for American Progress • May 12, 2011

“Working more means families have less time together and less time to care for one another. This is a net loss for the typical middle-class family, who works longer than their parents but has seen slower income gains than their parents’ generation.  And while women have more economic opportunity than a generation or two ago, families now struggle enormously with how to care for the young, the aged, and the ill. Without a set of policies that addresses the need for workplace flexibility, including predictable hours that work for families, paid sick days for a worker’s illness or to care for a sick family member, and paid family leave to provide care during longer illnesses or when a new child comes into the family, the middle class struggles with a lack of time to care.”

DeLauro, Harkin Renew Fight for Paid Sick Days

• Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) • May 12, 2011

“Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3), Ranking Member on the Labor, Education, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, reintroduced the Healthy Families Act today. This legislation would provide paid sick days to millions of American workers who currently are forced to choose between their health, their family’s health, and their jobs.”

Top 25 Companies for Work-Life Balance

Alexis Grant • May 11, 2011 • May 11, 2011

“Those companies, when rated by their employees, rank at the top of a new list for work-life balance created by Glassdoor, a website that offers insight into careers and companies, as well as job listings. This is the first year Glassdoor has produced such a list, reflecting what could be interpreted as an increasing desire for workplace policies that allow employees to meet family and personal responsibilities.”

Parents Are Unhappy. But Why? And Should We Care?

Betsey Stevenson • Cato Unbound • May 10, 2011

“Time-use data suggests that it’s college-educated parents who are most likely to be over-investing: they spend more time on childcare and have vastly increased the amount of time they spend on childcare over the past two decades.[2] But recall that these aren’t the parents who have much lower happiness compared to similar nonparents. Moreover, recent cohorts of college-educated moms—the ones who have increased the time they spend on children the most—take much less of a happiness hit from having kids. The happiness gap between college-educated nonmoms and moms has been shrinking over time.  Why the increase in happiness when childcare time is increasing? College-educated parents are more likely to spend time with their kids with their spouse present.[3] Perhaps college-educated moms aren’t overinvesting in the chore called childcare, but are instead having more of the leisure called family time.”

Women Trail Men in New-Job Gains

Sara Murray • Wall Street Journal • May 7, 2011

“During the downturn, which ran from late-2007 to mid-2009, sectors such as manufacturing and construction shed millions of jobs, sending the unemployment rate for men into the double digits. But as the economy has rebounded, men have been recovering labor market losses faster than women.  ‘2010 is a year where men had a recovery and women didn’t,’ said Betsey Stevenson, the Labor Department’s chief economist.”

Share of married-couple families with an employed mother at its lowest, 1994-2010

• Bureau of Labor Statistics - The Editor's Desk • May 6, 2011

“In 2010, the mother was employed in 65.4 percent of married-couple families with children under the age of 18—a record low for the series. The series began in 1994. The mother was employed in 67.0 percent of families with children maintained by women in which no spouse was present.”

Events

Charting Your Course

• Harvard Business School •

“Whether you desire to reenergize your career after working in the same field for several years or wish to reenter the workforce after taking time off, a clearly defined vision and well-articulated career strategy are imperative. Charting Your Course will equip you with the skills, strategies, and tools you need to revitalize your career development efforts and achieve both personal and professional growth.”

Blogs

Not your mother’s ambition

Selena Rezvani • Washington Post - On Leadership • May 13, 2011

“The Washington, DC-based Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation recently released Gen Y Women in the Workplace , a study that examines what motivates the youngest segment of female workers. The study shows that Gen Y women expect their work to be satisfying in at least two ways: They anticipate enjoying their work—rather than surviving through the day­­­—and count on contributing to something bigger than themselves. Study participants also share their objections with work/life programs that cater only to family needs, diminishing any other valid reasons for work/life integration.”

Why older workers are creating their own jobs

Mark Miller • Reuters - Prism Money • May 12, 2011

“Ramsey decided to leave voluntarily, spurred by the changing work environment and caregiving responsibilities at home, where she looks after a mentally disabled daughter, an aging mother and mother-in-law, and her husband, a disabled veteran. [...] Ramsey’s transition underscores an important trend among workers over age 50 who find themselves bounced out of the workforce. Many are choosing to become self-employed entrepreneurs.”

How To Make Workplace Flexibility About All of Us (Not Just Women)

Cali Williams Yost • Forbes - Work in Progress • May 11, 2011

“This past Sunday, as I peacefully enjoyed my Mother’s Day, a Google Alert link for ‘workplace flexibility’ led me to an article in The Washington Post, ‘Movement to keep moms working is remaking the workplace.’  For a brief moment, it was as if someone stuck a pin in a balloon and deflated my lovely day. I couldn’t believe that, once again, the need to rethink inflexible ways of working was presented as a women’s, or more specifically, a mothers’ issue. It’s not, and it’s time for women to push back and say ‘enough.’  Why?”

The Great Stagnation and goofing off

Josh Barro • National Review - The Agenda • May 10, 2011

“But the thought occurs to me: perhaps recent advances in technology are actually increasing per-hour productivity by much more than we realize. But then workers are absorbing those gains by goofing off more at their desks, spending their time on Facebook and surfing the web, and completing their tasks only marginally faster than they used to despite much greater productivity. Admit it: the typical white collar office worker under 35 is spending at least a quarter of his or her day on social networking, reading blogs and chatting with friends. Hours worked are shrinking much faster than hours ‘worked,’ and we’re enjoying a lot more leisure time than is reflected in the data.”

More Flexibility Necessary for Attorney Retention

Melissa J. Anderson • Glass Hammer • May 10, 2011

“‘The Project for Attorney Retention’s mission is to reduce unwanted attrition of lawyers,’ explained Manar Morales, PAR’s Executive Director. One particularly sore spot for attorneys (male and female), she explained, is the issue of work/life balance. PAR was founded by Cynthia Calvert and Joan Williams to address these issues.”

Global News

PM on the defensive over cuts to family tax payments

Phillip Coorey • Sydney Morning Herald • May 13, 2011

“The government was trying to settle the outcry over a budget decision to freeze at $150,000 for two more years the income threshold for the family tax benefit B, the baby bonus and paid parental leave.  The freeze, which prevents the threshold increasing each year at the rate of inflation, would save $1.2 billion, and about 40,000 families would lose their payment as the income of the prime earner moves past $150,000 during the freeze period.”

The reason mothers work - and Tories try to stop them

Zoe Williams • Guardian • May 12, 2011

“The reality for many women is that their work is cost-neutral, and they do it not to hold their spot in the workforce, for their NI contributions or eventual pensions, but because the alternative is to look after their own children all the time. Conservatives like to pretend that men are maladapted to childcare: second-wave feminists like to pretend that intelligent women are maladapted to childcare. In fact, the problem with children is that they are a bit childish: most people want to look after them some of the time. Very few people want to look after them constantly.  From a government perspective all that counts is whether policy forces households into a single-breadwinner model.”