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 6, 2011


U.S. Adds 244,000 Jobs in April; Jobless Rate at 9.0%

Christine Hauser • New York Times • May 6, 2011

“The United States economy added far more jobs than expected in April as the recovery continued to pick up steam. The Department of Labor said Friday that 244,000 jobs were added last month after a gain of a revised 221,000 in March. The unemployment rate rose to 9 percent in April from 8.8 percent in March. [...] The average workweek was 34.3 hours in April, the same as in March, while average hourly earnings rose by 3 cents to $22.95, compared with a revised $22.92 in March.”

Related:  BLS Report:

Walker signs law pre-empting sick day ordinance

Georgia Pabst • Journal Sentinel • May 5, 2011

“Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Thursday a measure that voids Milwaukee’s paid sick leave ordinance that was passed by voters in a referendum and upheld recently by the state Court of Appeals.  Walker, in Milwaukee on Thursday for the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Italian Community Center, went to offices of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce offices to sign Senate Bill 23. The bill will pre-empt local ordinances from requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees for family, medical or health issues.”

U.S. Productivity Slowed in First Quarter, Labor Costs Rose

Shobhana Chandra • Bloomberg • May 5, 2011

“The productivity of U.S. workers slowed in the first quarter and labor costs rose as a growing economy prompted companies to boost employment.  The measure of employee output per hour increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate, exceeding the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after a 2.9 percent gain in the prior three months, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Expenses per employee climbed at a 1 percent rate after dropping 1 percent the prior quarter.”

US women opt for help at home over office - poll

Lauren Keiper • Reuters • May 4, 2011

“Working mothers want to earn a good salary, put a higher priority on getting some help around the house than at the office, and undervalue their work at home, surveys released on Tuesday showed.  Salary is the key factor when job-hunting, according to women who work outside the home, but a family-friendly office, job enjoyment and flexible schedules are also priorities, a survey from iVillage and showed.”


Escaping Your Job: What Would You Do?

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • May 6, 2011

“Asked what they would be most likely to do if they jumped ship, about a third of men and women alike said they would stay in the same career field, but seek out a better job at a different company.  Beyond that, men’s and women’s preferred escape routes diverge. Men tend to be more entrepreneurial, with higher proportions of males saying they would become independent consultants or start their own businesses.  Meanwhile, women are more willing than men to settle for making a lateral move to a similar job in a different company. Women are also more likely to seek a fresh start by switching careers in a different field or by going back to school for more training.  This is at least partly because of the high value women place on work-life balance.”

Building America’s Third Great Job Machine

Richard Florida • Atlantic - Business • May 5, 2011

“The reality is that more than 60 million people, or about 45 percent of the work-force, are already toiling in low-wage service jobs, which will remain low-wage jobs even if and when the economy expands. And it’s those very job categories that are growing the fastest—the US economy is expected to add another 7-10 million of them in the coming decade.  A successful jobs strategy must focus centrally on upgrading the content and improving the wages of this entire job category. That is what happened a century ago, when public policy shifted to protect workers’ rights and line jobs in manufacturing, once considered dirty and dangerous and impossible to upgrade, became high-paid work.”

Why You Should Take a Pay Cut to Telecommute

Tony Bradley • PC World • May 5, 2011

“If you add up the money saved in office space, power, climate control, networking, janitorial services, and in many cases even the technology used if workers rely on their own home PC and/or smartphones, the company can save a ton of money by letting users stay home. Based on that, I can see why it might seem like you should get a raise instead of a cut.  But, having worked from home for ten straight years, I can also quantify the value from the employee perspective, and a ten percent cut seems like a reasonable trade. I don’t have to spend any money on gas, or wear and tear on my car (or risk playing highway roulette and getting into an accident) to get to and from work each day.”

Americans Value Moms, But Policies Don’t

Janet Walsh • Huffington Post • May 5, 2011

“Moms are valuable, right? Your average consumer thinks so, but when it comes to laws and policies, it seems that lawmakers don’t agree.  A prime example is the lack of paid family leave—including maternity leave—under U.S. law. In all but two states (California and New Jersey), there is no guarantee under law of paid leave from work after childbirth or adoption. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees only unpaid leave, and almost half of U.S. workers aren’t even eligible for that.”

Employees’ Constant Struggle With Work and Home Life Commitment

Sandy Miller • Technorati • May 4, 2011

“To try and stop the guilt they haven’t stopped the technology that keeps you on an electronic umbilical cord to work. Instead they have changed the terminology.  They acknowledge that it is impossible to truly balance work and family. It’s a no win situation and at any given time you are forced to neglect one for the other.  Now work life integration tells you that you can fit both of them together. This is why you see people on Facebook at 2:00 in the afternoon. It’s only fair if they are going to be doing emails at 9:00 at night.”

Why You Shouldn’t Take a Pay Cut to Telecommute

Meredith Levinson • PC World • May 4, 2011

“While I’d take telecommuting over working in an office any day for the boost it affords my productivity and my sense of work-life balance, I would never accept a pay cut to telecommute, nor would I advise anyone to compromise their pay to work at home. Pay cuts hurt. That’s why they’re called cuts.  I would argue that employers should pay their employees more to telecommute.”

White Male Corporate Boards Getting More White, More Male

Derek Thompson • Atlantic - Business • May 4, 2011

“In 2004, white men held seven out of ten board seats at Fortune 100 companies. One boom-and-bust cycle later, those boards are even whiter and include even more men, according to a new report issued by the Alliance for Board Diversity.”

Why Every mom in America Needs to Quit

Mel Robbins (Posted by Lisa Belkin) • New York Times - Motherlode • May 4, 2011

“Being a mom has always been tough. But when four out of five families have both parents in the workforce, motherhood is a thankless treadmill. There’s very little upside. Even as women improve their incomes, and outnumber men in the workforce and professional schools, we’re still stuck with the second shift at home. Only 20 percent of men share housework with their wives in dual-income families!  Why do we do it?”

Retirement Plan: Delay the Date But Not the Dream

Dan Kadlec • CBS MoneyWatch - Bank of Dad • May 3, 2011

“The idea of a ‘phased retirement’ has been around for a while. That’s where you and then your spouse scale back hours at the office or find a part-time job, gradually adjusting to the lower income while exploring what you’ll do with your increasing amount of free time. The mutual fund company T. Rowe Price puts a slightly different spin on the strategy, calling it ‘practice retirement.’ The idea is to stay at work longer and probably full-time, but stop saving and use the additional cash to live it up a little.”

Global News

Mothers must be able to balance caring with careers

Jodie Thompson • Sydney Morning Herald • May 6, 2011

“So women scientists in their 30s and 40s are leaving the workforce in droves, apparently in part because workplaces are not flexible enough for working mothers, a familiar tale for those performing the delicate juggle between caring and careers.  Despite steps including paid parental leave and changes to the Fair Work Act allowing workers to request flexible hours, the reality is tough.”

Women Still an Untapped Labor Force in Turkey

Susanne Fowler • New York Times • May 4, 2011

“Researchers say that nearly half of all Turkish women enter the labor market at some point in their lives, but most end up quitting because of family obligations or poor working conditions. Raising rates of employment by women is ‘instrumental in building capacity for economic growth and poverty reduction,’ a report by the Turkish State Planning Organization and the World Bank said.  While 64 percent of adult women in the European Union were employed in 2007, the figure was 23.5 percent in Turkey as of 2009, according to the Turkish and World Bank report.”