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 28, 2011

Articles

Caregiving Costs U.S. Economy $25.2 Billion in Lost Productivity

Dan Witters • Gallup • July 27, 2011

“Working American caregivers—those who work at least 15 hours per week and help care for an aging family member, relative, or friend—report that their caregiving obligations significantly affect their work life. The majority of caregivers say that caregiving has at least some impact on their performance at work. Based on a five-point scale, where five is a great impact and one is no impact, 10% of caregivers choose five and 44% pick somewhere between two and four.”

Vacations don’t keep people satisfied for long once they return home

Marta Zaraska • Washington Post • July 25, 2011

“Do vacations make us happy for long? According to studies published in recent years, not really. Not only are the positive effects of holidays on our well-being weak, they also fade very fast. Once the traveling was over, researchers found, those who had gone away didn’t feel any better than those who had stayed home.”

Work at home: Take pay cut. Come out ahead.

Margaret Price • Christian Science Monitor • July 25, 2011

“Amid traffic jams, high gas prices, family needs, and a yen for more flexibility, what 21st-century worker hasn’t thought about skipping the office scene and telecommuting instead? But taking a pay cut to do it? To some, the benefits outweigh the lost income. A survey by New York-based Dice Holdings released earlier this year found that 35 percent of technology professionals would take up to 10 percent less pay to telecommute full time.”

The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk

Catherine Rampell • New York Times • July 25, 2011

“Unemployed workers have long suspected that the gaping holes on their résumés left them less attractive to employers.  […] Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.”

Blogs

A Stay-At-Home Tipping Point?

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • July 28, 2011

“Going back to work after having a child is a tough decision for many women, as we’ve discussed at length on this blog. But is there a tipping point—a certain number of children at which a woman is more likely to stay home than return to the workforce? Is a woman more likely to stay home with each additional child? Or are people who have large families less likely to work in the first place?”

Where the Job Growth Is: At the Low End

Steven Greenhouse • New York Times - Economix • July 27, 2011

“There’s more unhappy news for the millions of Americans hoping for a surge in the number of good, high-paying jobs — a new report concludes that the great bulk of new jobs created since the economic recovery began are in lower-wage occupations, paying $13.52 or less an hour.”

The Economist Doesn’t Get It

Vivia Chen • Careerist • July 27, 2011

“I wonder if women have created a monster by focusing on the difficulties of meshing career and home. Whenever there’s a gender gap—be it in law, business, or any other sector—the work/life balance thing has become the default explanation. It goes like this: There’s a shortage of women at the top because when push comes to shove, women put priority on the home front.”

Working Fathers Struggle to Balance It All: What That Means for Women

Tina Vasquez • Glass Hammer • July 26, 2011

“A recent report by A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, a national legal advocacy organization, revealed that nearly 85 percent of fathers feel pressure to be both a financial provider and an engaged parent, and three out of four fathers worry that their jobs do not allow them to be the kind of dads that want to be.”

Four Steps to Workplace Flexibility and Smart Scheduling

Joan Williams • Huffington Post • July 26, 2011

“On July 18, unions and employers came together to make work-life balance a reality for hourly workers.  The common assumption is that workplace flexibility is impractical for hourly workers. Not so: On that Monday, models emerged to offer workplace flexibility in three contexts where it might seem impossible: health care, restaurants and small business.”

Equal Workloads for Husbands and Wives

Lisa Belkin • New York Times - Motherlode • July 25, 2011

“Also, the historical expectations that women ‘succeed’ at home while men do the same at work mean that even while ‘men and women alike work hard and feel work-family conflict,’ Ms. Konigsberg writes, ‘that conflict manifests itself in different ways.’ As one researcher tells her, ‘For working fathers, work interferes with family more than family interferes with work,’ while for women it appears to be the other way around.”

Global News

“According to a report in the Financial Times, Mr Hilton also recommended sacking hundreds of Government press offices and replacing them with a blog for each Whitehall department.  The newspaper quoted a source close to Mr Hilton suggesting that he thought that maternity leave rights were ‘the biggest obstacle to woman finding work’. Britain now allows women to have up to a year off work and the family-friendly policy has been regularly championed by Mr Cameron.”

“The report, ‘Working Women’, part of Friends Life’s Vision of Britain 2020 series, surveyed 11,000 employees in the UK online last month, including 940 working women. It revealed clear differences of opinion between the sexes.  It found the majority of working women see no end to the obstacles hindering their advancement in the workplace. More than half (55%) of women believe there will still be a significant pay gap between men and women in 2020, while 53% think women will still be struggling much more than men to secure senior roles.”

Liberte, Egalite, Fertilite

Katrin Benhold • New York Times • July 26, 2011

“Women in France earn on average 26 percent less than men but do two-thirds of the housework. […] this is the only European country where I’ve routinely met successful businesswomen with three children and an enviable figure. At a time of aging populations and ballooning debt levels across the Western world, other countries can at least learn this from France’s 200-year-old natalist obsession: Investing in a public infrastructure that supports working mothers pays off three times. It raises employment rates, bolsters tax revenue and in the process grooms the workforce and taxpayers of tomorrow.”

The wrong way to promote women

• Economist • July 21, 2011

“A less coercive approach is preferable. Companies that want to attract the best talent must think hard about how to make work more family-friendly. […] Wise firms will strive to remove barriers for women. The proportion of women in top jobs may remain lower than governments would like, partly because prejudices about women and work have deep roots […] But firms that address the question most skilfully will win the talent war, and reap the rewards.