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 17, 2011

Articles

Companies tie more of workers’ pay to performance

Ruth Mantell • MarketWatch • May 17, 2011

“Companies increasingly are connecting pay to employees’ performance, in part as a strategy for growing their business in uncertain economic times.  Labor costs generally are a large portion of a company’s spending. Continued emphasis on pay gains that vary based on employees’ performance reflects companies’ efforts to control costs and focus on spending for results, according to human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt.”

The Great Recession’s lost generation

Chris Isidore • CNN Money • May 17, 2011

“The brutal job market brought on by the recession has been hard on everyone, but especially devastating on the youngest members of the labor force. About 60% of recent graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession, according to job placement firm Adecco. And for those just entering the workplace, a bout of long-term unemployment can affect their career plans for years to come.”

A New Gauge to See What’s Beyond Happiness

John Tierney • New York Times • May 16, 2011

“This feeling of accomplishment contributes to what the ancient Greeks called eudaimonia, which roughly translates to ‘well-being’ or ‘flourishing,’ a concept that Dr. Seligman has borrowed for the title of his new book, ‘Flourish.’ [...] The best gauge so far of flourishing, Dr. Seligman says, comes from a study of 23 European countries by Felicia Huppert and Timothy So of the University of Cambridge. Besides asking respondents about their moods, the researchers asked about their relationships with others and their sense that they were accomplishing something worthwhile.”

Federal pension proposal may make public sector work less attractive, observers say

Steve Vogel and Ed O'Keefe • Washington Post • May 16, 2011

“The plan pushed by Republicans would require civilian federal employees to pay 6 percent of their salary. As federal workers currently contribute only 0.8 percent, the change would amount to more than a 5 percent pay cut. The idea has also been advocated by Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission, which wants to adjust the ratio of employer/employee contributions to federal employee pension plans to equalize contributions. The government contributes 12.7 percent of payroll to retirement accounts, significantly more than the average contribution of 5.3 percent made by private-sector companies for their employees.”

Employers tell workers to get a move on

Olga Khazan • Los Angeles Times • May 15, 2011

“Between the sheet-cake birthday parties and hours-long, cookie-fueled management meetings, office work has a way of undermining all our plans to live healthfully. Americans spend nearly nine hours at work each day — and our sedentary jobs wreak havoc on our bodies. [...] Geographically blessed companies are especially apt to weave hardcore physical activities into the workday. At the Ventura offices of the outdoor apparel manufacturer Patagonia, the company’s flex-time policy means employees can go running, biking or surfing in the middle of the workday, and nearly all of them do.”

Employers Can Control Some Fatigue Factors

Kathy Gurchiek • We Know Next • May 13, 2011

“There are a number of reasons for fatigue on the job—including medical conditions and holding down multiple jobs or other responsibilities in addition to maintaining a work schedule. [...] However, too few employees for the work to be done is the main reason for workplace fatigue, said HR leaders in the survey. Other top reasons they identified from a list of potential factors: the disappearing boundary between home and work life, and employees who overwork out of fear of losing their jobs.”

Tech Notebook: Facebook, Agilent, Intuit praised for work-life balance

Frank Michael Russell • San Jose Mercury • May 13, 2011

“Is your employer making your life easier?  Even in this economy—with pay cuts, layoffs and more to do for those who still have jobs—employees are looking for companies that allow for work-life balance, according to a report this week from website Glassdoor.  Nationwide, according to a survey conducted for the Sausalito company by Harris Interactive, 54 percent of full- and part-time employees report good work-life balance, while 43 percent wish theirs was better.”

Blogs

Exec to Young Women: Stress Less About Work-Life Balance

Jessica Stillman • BNET - Entry-Level Rebel • May 17, 2011

“Yesterday we outlined a report that said women grads face a significant pay gap immediately after graduation, but it’s not only pay inequality that has many recent female career entrants worried. Quite a few are also stressing about building a career that allows them a reasonable work-life balance.”

Is There Paternity Leave in Baseball?

Jenya Cassidy • Huffington Post • May 13, 2011

“Colby Lewis is not the first major league player to miss a game to attend the birth of his child. But he is the first to take advantage of Major League Baseball’s new 72-hour paternity leave policy. Now, 72-hour leave might not sound overly-generous. But it is more paid paternity leave than most U.S. companies provide.  Many new fathers would qualify for unpaid, job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A California or New Jersey father might qualify to take paid leave. But we have no national law that guarantees fathers (or mothers) the right to take paid time off work to bond with a new child.”

New App Aids Employees in Wage Wars

Sarah E. Needleman • Wall Street Journal - In Charge • May 10, 2011

“The government agency announced Tuesday the launch of a virtual timesheet app that lets employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they’re owed. Users can view a summary of their work hours in a daily, weekly and monthly format and select an option to email it. Available in English and Spanish, the app also features links to sections within the Labor Department’s website on wage laws.”

Prioritizing Wellness In The Workplace

Jackie MacLeod • Forbes - 85 Broads •

“We’ve watched as 9 to 5 has morphed into 9 to 7 or even 9 to 9 over the last few decades, but how productive are we when we’re on 24 hours a day? There is a point of diminishing returns. Consider de-structuring the typical workday so that you and your employees can be most effective and efficient. If this means working 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night or telecommuting some days, make it possible. We can maximize the productivity and minimize the stress. We just need to change the way we think about work.”

Global News

Human Resources: power to the people

Virginia Marsh • Financial Times • May 17, 2011

This story describes strategies to provide flexible work arrangements and some motives underlying their implementation.

Vince Cable unveils plans for mothers and fathers to share parental leave

Allegra Stratton • Guardian • May 16, 2011

“The government is to begin consulting on plans to give both parents an extra month of leave during a baby’s first year and share out caring responsibilities.  The business secretary, Vince Cable, will set out the long-awaited proposals to update workplace regulation to reflect the demands of modern life, in an effort to prevent people ‘cracking up’ from the strain.  The plans have already caused concern among employers over the impact on small businesses in particular.”