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 18, 2011


Recession pushes more in D.C. area to live with relatives

Carol Morello and Ted Mellnik • Washington Post • August 18, 2011

“The recession pushed more people in the Washington area into living with relatives and friends, according to new census figures showing a sharp rise in families who have taken in adult children, siblings, parents and roommates.  Almost 1.2 million of the region’s 6 million residents were living with extended family members and friends last year, a 33 percent rise over the past decade. Nationwide, according to recently released 2010 Census statistics, at least 54 million people are in a similar spot.”

Making the Sale: How to Deal with Unemployment among Veterans

Rajiv Srinvasan • Time • August 18, 2011

“There are over 2 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the U.S. today; that number will likely double in the next few years as we wring ourselves of foreign obligations. While the numbers of homeless veterans, wounded veterans, and veterans without healthcare in this country are all disconcerting, the statistic that continues to anger me the most is that among young American veterans — those defined as younger than age 30 — approximately 24% are unemployed, over double the rate for the general population.”

Discrimination Suit Against Bloomberg L.P. Is Rejected

David Chen • New York Times • August 17, 2011

“In a major victory for Bloomberg L.P., the financial and media services giant founded by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a federal judge has dismissed claims that the company engaged in a pattern of discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers returning from maternity leave.”

Report: Child poverty rate hits 20 percent in US as families struggle

Brad Knickerbocker • Christian Science Monitor • August 17, 2011

“There has been a ‘significant decline’ in economic well-being for low-income children and families over the past decade as the official child poverty rate grew by 18 percent and poverty levels for families with children increased in 38 states, according to a new study. Economic and housing difficulties are the main culprits, reports the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization that focuses on disadvantaged children. […] ‘Nearly 8 million children lived with at least one parent who was actively seeking employment but was unemployed in 2010. This is double the number in 2007, just three years earlier.’”

Making their Case

Sally Friedman • Philadelphia Inquirer • August 17, 2011

“’I’m like so many other lawyers who are mothers, trying to fit into a culture that may be entrenched with Philadelphia lawyers,’ Mattiacci said, ‘but that collides directly with our needs and schedules.’  It’s a scenario that prompted her to help create Philly-MAMA (Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association) in 2009 as a way to share these concerns, gather ideas, and perhaps ultimately change the city’s legal culture. Two years later, membership has hit 75, one indication that the legal profession is still not in harmony with the women’s lives as mothers-in-the-law.”

The allocation of time over the business cycle

Mark Aguiar, Erik Hurst, and Loukas Karabarbounis • VOX • August 17, 2011

“When jobs are scarce, what else is there to do? This column looks at data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and finds that roughly 30% to 40% of time not spent working is put towards increased ‘home’ production, 30% of time is allocated to increased sleep time and increased television watching, while other leisure activities make up a further 20% of the foregone market work hours.”

The Long Haul to the Office

Sarah Max • Wall Street Journal • August 17, 2011

“More than 3.2 million workers in the U.S., or about 2.4% of the nation’s workforce, travel more than 90 minutes to work each way, according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. […]  Although the average commute hasn’t changed much in the past five years, in certain pockets, such as parts of Southern California and the New York metro area, the number of people with extreme commutes has increased, says Kate Lister, of the San Diego-based Telework Research Network.”

More Unwed Parents Live Together, Report Finds

Sabrina Tavernise • New York Times • August 16, 2011

“The number of Americans who have children and live together without marrying has increased twelvefold since 1970, according to a report released Tuesday. The report states that children now are more likely to have unmarried parents than divorced ones.”


Our Crisis of Well-Being

Annie Leonard • New York Time – Room for Debate – A Chance to Reshape the Economy • August 17, 2011

“We’re in the midst of a triple crisis: economy, environment and climate. I’d add a fourth: a crisis of well-being. Despite buying, consuming and discarding an ever-increasing amount of stuff, quality of life is eroding. We’re overstressed at work. We long for more time with our families and friends. Participation in community and civic affairs is declining.”

Want to breastfeed your baby? You’re fired!

Galen Sherwin and Rebecca T. Wallace • Custom-Fit Workplace • August 16, 2011

“Imagine you’ve recently come back to work after maternity leave and you’re using every last minute of your break time to pump breast milk to feed your baby at home. You just need a little help from your employer — an extra 20 minutes a few times a week. But your employer refuses to help, and tells you that, instead of breastfeeding your baby, you should consider switching to feeding him formula. Worse yet — imagine that after you complain, you’re fired.  That’s exactly what happened to Heather Burgbacher, a technology teacher and coordinator at Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen, in Evergreen, Colorado.”

Shorter Weeks, Longer Vacations

Dean Baker • New York Times – Room for Debate – A Chance to Reshape the Economy • August 16, 2011

“Policy can also promote longer vacations, family and parental leave, and paid sick days — all mechanisms for making the workplace more family friendly. There seems to be no way to avoid the fact that we are destined to have a prolonged period in which the economy is operating below its potential output. It makes much more sense to turn this into leisure that can be enjoyed by everyone, rather than unemployment that is suffered by an unlucky minority of the work force.”

What Working Moms Want

Tina Vasquez • Glass Hammer • August 16, 2011

“According to a Baylor University study published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology, women who return to work after giving birth are more likely to stay on the job if they have greater control over their work schedules. Researchers also found that job security and the ability to make use of a variety of their job skills leads to greater retention of working moms, while the impact of work-related stress on their physical and mental health causes greater turnover.”

Global News

Summer need never end: work-life balance forever

Celia Donne • HR Magazine • August 17, 2011

“Few of us can take six to eight weeks’ holiday to look after children, but it is sad to sentence them to weeks of full-time holiday camp once their fortnight in the sun with us is over. If only there were a happy medium… There is. It’s called flexible working. Even if you don’t have children, it can help you enjoy the summer.  A survey of over 17,000 businesses worldwide, conducted for Regus, found that 80% of employers offer staff some flexibility over where and when they work.”

24-hour shifts are a prescription for medical errors

Andre Picard • Globe and Mail • August 17, 2011

“In June, a Quebec labour arbitrator ruled on a grievance by former medical resident (now hematologist) Alain Bestawros.  Arbitrator Jean-Pierre Lussier said the 24-hour shifts pose a danger to residents’ health and therefore violate Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which ensures security of the person) and Section 46 of the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which requires ‘fair and reasonable conditions of employment’). He gave the employer, the McGill University Health Centre, six months to move to a system in which 16-hour shifts are the maximum allowed. The hospital is appealing.”