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?

July 18, 2011

Articles

American dream in reverse

Katie Leslie • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • July 18, 2011

“Among two-parent families near the mid-point on the income scale, the men made an average of $50,000 in 1975; their counterparts today make about $47,000.  The only reason income has increased at all for such families is that women are working more and, in many cases, getting better-paying jobs than their mothers did.  For now, and perhaps for the foreseeable future, some fear, the American dream has reversed: Coming generations will fare worse than their parents and grandparents.”

AARP Finds Toll on Family Caregivers Is ‘Huge’

Jennifer Ludden • NPR - Morning Edition • July 18, 2011

“A new study by the AARP estimates that for the more than 40 million Americans caring for an elderly or disabled loved one, the value of their work is $450 billion a year.  That’s a good deal for society. But for the family members doing the work, the study finds they need a lot more help.”

10 Reasons to Delay Retirement

Emily Brandon • U.S. News and World Report • July 18, 2011

“Increasingly, Americans are pushing back their ideal retirement age. The age workers expect to retire rose from an average of 60 in 1995 to 66 in 2011, according to a recent Gallup poll. And a Harris Interactive survey released last week found that Americans age 55 and older plan to work until they’re 69, up from age 64 in 2001. Working longer has a variety of economic and social benefits.”

Dearth of Demand Seen Behind Weak Hiring

Phil Izzo • Wall Street Journal • July 18, 2011

“The main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists in a new Wall Street Journal survey.  ‘There is no demand,’ said Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics. ‘Businesses aren’t confident enough, and the longer this goes on the harder it is to convince them that they should be.’”

Getting the Most Out of Social Security

Richard H. Thaler • New York Times • July 16, 2011

“The Social Security Administration could take some steps to encourage people to delay. […] For historical reasons, Social Security labels an intermediate age between 62 and 70 as the ‘Full (normal) Retirement Age.’ […] Let’s get rid of this awkward and misleading term. Benefits at that age are not ‘full’ and retiring at that age is not ‘normal.’ Research shows that the designation of a full retirement age can serve as an anchor that influences people’s choices, and may help explain why so few people delay claiming past age 66.”

“More Americans continue to struggle to access basic necessities than before the 2008 economic crisis. The U.S. earned a Basic Access Index score of 82.0 in June—about on par with the low point of 81.5 recorded in February and March of 2009—and down compared with 83.6 measured in June 2008.”

“In 2011, the Wall Street Journal’s Women in the Economy conference identified flexible working arrangements as a top priority for organizations. It was also suggested that a lattice structure replace the traditional ladder structure as a new pathway to success. […] Given that the same recommendations appear in 2011 as in 1989, has any progress been made?”

Blogs

Carmageddon Countdown: LAPD urges workers to telecommute Friday, stay off roads

Kimi Yoshino • Los Angeles Times - The Juggle • July 15, 2011

“‘Carmageddon and the full 405 Freeway shutdown may not take effect until midnight, but Los Angeles police and transportation officials are urging people to stay off the freeways on Friday. […] So, good news for workers: LAPD Commander Andy Smith says you should stay home from work and telecommute.”

Professional Flexibility for Hourly Workers

Joan Williams • Huffington Post • July 14, 2011

“You think flexibility for professionals is hard…  How about hourly workers? Does your moving man lose his job if he can’t get to work on time because he takes his kid to school? What does your waitress do when her child care falls through? Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) will give the keynote on July 18 at a conference at University of California, Hastings College of the Law on how employers and unions can help hourly workers balance work and family.”

In Anemic Job Market, Benefits Take Hit

Sue Shellenbarger • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • July 14, 2011

“A few family-related benefits have taken a hit since the recession, and haven’t recovered, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) latest annual survey of 600 employers’ benefits’ offerings.  Only 25% of employers offer paid family leave, about unchanged from 2010 and down from 33% in 2007, says the survey, released late last month.”

A Gap Year for Grown-ups

Marc Freedman • Harvard Business Review Blogs • July 14, 2011

“For most people, the end of middle age is no longer attached to the beginning of retirement or old age. Instead millions of 50- and 60-somethings approach this territory with uncertainty. […] Right now, there’s an absence of any formal rites or routes of passage for those moving from midlife to the new phase with no name. To fill the void, why not create a gap year for grown-ups? Don’t we deserve a break, too — after juggling extreme jobs and family responsibilities in shaky economic times?”

Global News

Just one in ten fathers to take full paternity leave

Louisa Peacock • Telegraph • July 18, 2011

“Just one in 10 men would take more than two weeks off work to look after their newborn babies, despite new rights which came into effect in April, a survey by think tank Demos found.  Only half of men take their full leave entitlement, often because statutory paternity pay covers less than a quarter of their salary, the study of 1,500 workers found.”

For the modern worker, more can really mean less

Rachel Browne • Sydney Morning Herald • July 17, 2011

“Longer shifts are part of the move to extended trading hours, where shops and services are increasingly open for business at night and on weekends. Employers say longer shifts can improve productivity, and workers in a variety of fields who talked to The Sun-Herald spoke of enjoying greater flexibility than traditional nine-to-fivers.  But researchers said there were drawbacks.”