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 27, 2011

Articles

Paid Sick Leave Bill Approved By State Senate, 18-17

Daniela Altimari • Hartford Courant • May 25, 2011

“By the slenderest of margins, a controversial measure requiring companies with 50 employees or more offer paid sick days to their workers cleared its first hurdle in the state Senate today.  By a vote of 18 to 17, the Senate approved the bill and sent it to the House of Representatives. The chamber had previously approved an amendment that changed some portions of the bill, but it is a likely harbinger of a vote on the underlying proposal that is expected later this evening.”

America can learn from Europe on work-life balance

Cary L. Cooper • CNN • May 25, 2011

“The U.S. has some of the longest working hours in the developed world. On top of that, Americans also have some of the shortest paid vacation leave.  And although many European countries have seen increases in their working hours—particularly the UK—employees are typically given between four and six weeks’ paid vacation time by their employer.”

“That report, prepared with the consulting firm Deloitte, found that women are less likely than men to think they have the power to make and be consulted on decisions at work. […] The Partnership for Public Service also found that men and women who are not managers reported similar satisfaction with their work-life balance. But among managers, women’s satisfaction rates fell 2.4 percentage points behind those of male managers.”

Balancing work and family on foreign turf

Joe Davidson • Washington Post • May 24, 2011

“The May issue of AFSA’s magazine, the Foreign Service Journal, reported that 64 percent of survey respondents said family concerns could cause them to leave the Foreign Service. The lack of spousal employment was, by far, the problem that caused Foreign Service officers the most stress, according to the survey.  AFSA President Susan Johnson said the examination of work-life balance was organized because of a concern that ‘the quality of family life has deteriorated’ for Foreign Service officers over the years. Greater security concerns and the need for two incomes are among the items that cause problems, she said.”

“iPass has also looked at mobile workers (becoming a more common feature in today’s digital world) and discovered they work on average an extra 240 hours a year compared to their static colleagues, and they value the Net that’s the lifeline to the world/office/family/entertainment so much that 68% of them will pay for a faster connection even if a free one’s available.  And being a mobile worker is terrible for relaxation—those precious moments when you’re disconnected from the office: 43% will keep their smartphone within reach while they sleep. These folk are 60% more likely to wake to check on their phones than average wakefulness.”

Events

TALK: Parenting – Putting the Pieces Together

• House of Sweden • June 1, 2011

“As gender equality improves, family roles are reshaped. Families face challenges in combining work and family life. Have work force policies kept up with the needs of the modern family?  Speakers will discuss parental leave, identify challenges and compare situations in the U.S. and Sweden.”

Blogs

Tim Pawlenty: Working Class Stalwart or Typical Careerist?

Conor Friedersdorf • Atlantic - Politics • May 26, 2011

“In American politics, especially at the national level, there is no escaping career-driven ladder climbers. It’s not discussed, even when candidates hoodwink voters by pretending their values are different, because journalists are often blind to the contradiction, being career oriented people in a subculture where 60+ hour work weeks and ambitious ladder-climbing is taken for granted.”

As School Winds Down, Parents Ramp Up

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • May 26, 2011

“Recently a friend sent the following tweet: ‘Has a labor economist ever studied if productivity decreases in late May & June due to workforce attendance at year-end school events?’ […] many parents are simply unable to forgo deadlines, meetings or calls for a preschool graduation or a nature-center field trip, unless they ask for a personal or vacation day well in advance. Or they must find a way to make up the time lost in the evenings, weekends or early mornings.”

Welcome to the NEW Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN)

Judi Casey • Sloan Work and Family Blog • May 25, 2011

“Let me tell you a little bit about what we have been doing to create the new Work and Family Researchers Network, now located at the University of Pennsylvania.  First, we are in the process of building a new web platform to create the next generation of opportunities for information sharing and networking.  The new website will feature a work and family subject matter Open Access Repository (OAR), a news tagging component and other interactive features. An OAR is a searchable database of academic papers, similar to an electronic library database, with the difference being that content in the repository is visible to search engines and freely available to anyone.”

What The Feds Can Teach Businesses About Telework

Jessica Stillman • GigaOM • May 24, 2011

“Last year President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act into law, requiring all government agencies to determine which employees are eligible to telecommute and to develop policies and processes to allow them to do so. Now the June 9 deadline set by the Act is fast approaching, and agencies are winding up the process of complying with its requirements. What lessons do their efforts hold for businesses interested in starting, expanding or improving their own web work programs?”

Global News

Cherchez les Femmes

Judith Warner • Time • May 26, 2011

“But French women never really were successful in having their cake and eating it too. Generous family policies aimed at both promoting fertility and allowing women to balance work and family have had the perverse effect of reinforcing age-old gender stereotypes, as employers proved unwilling to hire women of childbearing age on the grounds that they’d take too many costly and disruptive maternity leaves.”

Flexible work deals lure mothers in India

Amy Kazmin • Financial Times • May 26, 2011

This story discusses “Second Career,” a flexible work policy designed by a conglomerate in India to attract and retain talented women.

Australians Among Happiest, OECD Lifestyle Index Shows

Enda Curran • Wall Street Journal • May 25, 2011

“The resource-rich nation ranked highly in areas such as overall satisfaction, health, leisure time and community networks, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of the 34 nations that make up its membership. The index found that 75% of Australians were satisfied with their lives, above the U.S. average of 70% and well above the OECD’s average of 59%, while 83% expect things to be even better in five years from now.”