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?

August 11, 2011


Getting Along With Coworkers May Add Years to Your Life

Denise Mann • HealthDay • August 11, 2011

“Good relationships with your co-workers and a convivial, supportive work environment may add years to your life, new Israeli research finds.  Published recently in Health Psychology, the study tracked 820 adults with an average age of 41 who worked 8.8 hour days for about 20 years; a third of them were women. Employees who reported low social support at work were 2.4 times more likely to die during those two decades, compared with their colleagues who said they had a good social support system in the workplace.”

Life as an Academic Can Be Tough on Family

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal • August 10, 2011

“Academia seems like an attractive fit for a working parent, with its long summer vacations, flexible teaching and research hours and the possibility of life-long job security with tenure.  But academia may not be as family-friendly as it appears. The timing of tenure, for example, is particularly tough for working mothers because tenure is often decided during peak child-bearing years.  Now a new study finds that academia isn’t a paradise for working fathers either, at least in the sciences.”

Chore Wars

• Minnesota Public Radio • August 10, 2011

“A recent Time magazine cover story highlights data that says men are doing more paid work and women are doing more unpaid work - but at the end of the day, they’ve put in just about the same number of hours. Is this the situation in your house? And why do so many women still say they’re doing more?”

Proposal to require sick pay divides area business community

J.B. Wogan • Seattle Times • August 9, 2011

“Under a Seattle City Council proposal, Proios and every business owner in the city would be forced to provide paid sick leave for their workers. Bigger businesses would have to offer more paid days than smaller businesses, but all companies would be required, for the first time, to compensate employees for missing work for medical reasons, most often because they or a family member were sick.  About two dozen small-business owners have joined labor unions and civil-rights organizations to support the measure. Groups representing the broader business community decry it as a government intrusion.”

“Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly took a stand for America’s working new moms (and dads) this week, challenging Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher on his belief that maternity leave is a ‘racket.’”


Mandatory sick leave bill OK’d by Council panel

Chris Grygiel • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • August 10, 2011

“A Seattle City Council panel on Wednesday approved a controversial measure to require most businesses in the city to give workers paid sick time.  The legislation, which was amended to exempt the smallest businesses, must now be considered by the full Council, which will likely vote on the matter Sept. 12.”

Chart of the Day: Don’t Blame the Shrinking Workforce on Retirees

Daniel Indiviglio • Atlantic - Business • August 10, 2011

“This chart quickly puts to rest any assertion that elderly Americans retiring are causing labor market participation to decline. In fact, of all the age groups, the percentage employed of those 55 years-of-age and older has declined the least. It has barely moved, falling from 57.0% in late 2007 to 56.2% in late 2010.  Instead, of older workers retiring, we might be seeing the opposite. Although some workers in this age group are being laid off, participation levels are likely remaining high because those still employed feel that they must work even longer, since their nest eggs may have shrunk due to the bad economy.”

Business leaders be warned: Disgruntled employees on the rise

Jena McGregor • Washington Post - PostLeadership • August 9, 2011

“Someday, maybe much further in the future than we thought just weeks ago, the economy will recover. And when it does, the pent-up frustrations of leaders’ most talented people—the ones who’ve spent years watching their benefits get slashed, their workloads explode and their opportunities disappear, and the ones who are so difficult to replace—will start rushing for the revolving doors on their own terms.”

Parental Leave: The Swedes Are The Most Generous

Erin Killian • NPR - The Baby Project • August 8, 2011

“One of the benefits of this law, say Swedes, is that employers have no disincentive when it comes to hiring women who may have children and need lots of time off. Occasionally, it is the man who takes the majority of the days off. Still, Swedish men still tend to be better paid than women; this means the family loses more income if fathers take the leave. This helps explain why, according to Swedish government figures, women still take 75 percent of the allocation.”

Global News

Urban unrest makes strong argument for flexible working, says CIPD

Tim Soare • HR Magazine • August 11, 2011

“There is a good case to bring in flexible working to help businesses and employees cope with the strains imposed by the unrest in some UK cities, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said yesterday. Employers have a clear duty of care towards staff at the current time, Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, told HR magazine.”

New rules on gender pay ‘will threaten jobs’

Louisa Peacock • Telegraph • August 8, 2011

“The so-called ‘modern workplaces’ consultation, which closes today, proposes a number of ‘damaging’ changes which would ratchet up the cost of employing someone at a time when the economic recovery is on a cliff-edge, the bodies warn.  Under the rules, all workers would have the right to request flexible working from their employers – rather than just those who have parental or caring responsibilities. […] However, hidden within the consultation is a ‘worrying’ proposal intended to eliminate the ‘gender pay gap’, which would not work, the employers’ groups warn.”