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 25, 2011


Family time versus chores

Gracie Bonds Staples • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • August 25, 2011

“Even middle-income folks are finding that it is cost- and time-effective and a great stress reliever to pay someone else to do many of the chores that stay-at-home wives used to do, said Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.  ‘The upside is that it does provide more family time and relieve much of the stress of combining work and family,’ she said.”

We need a break from work

Jay Hein • Indianapolis Star • August 25, 2011

“Polls indicate that less than half of Americans will take a vacation this year, down from approximately 70 percent who vacationed a decade ago. No doubt the recession is a primary cause in this trend. Yet a different trend line may suggest more lasting and unhealthy consequences: for those who do take a vacation, almost half will stay connected to work by checking email and taking phone calls.”

One third of employees willing to change employer for flexible working arrangements

Jenny Williams • Computer Weekly • August 23, 2011

“A third of employees will seek employment elsewhere if employers fail to support flexible working via mobile devices.  Research from iPass, the Mobile Workforce Report, shows 95% of employers allow employees to work remotely via laptops and mobile devices. However, 40% of the 3,100 employees surveyed worldwide wanted employers to provide more flexible working conditions. A total of 33% would consider looking for employment elsewhere in search of better mobile working benefits.“

Obama Takes A Vacation: Getaway or Gaffe?

Linton Weeks • NPR • August 19, 2011

“Practically, however, the vacation has changed. With 24-7 connectivity, people work while they play. They operate and vacate. They file reportsand throw Frisbees. They close deals and open beers.  For many high-octane Americans the idea of a doh-de-doh, do-nothing summer holiday has morphed into a hybrid of telework and Casual Friday. It has become more of a vague-cation.”


Young and Jobless

Catherine Rampell • New York Times - Economix • August 25, 2011

“Since 1948, the Labor Department has been keeping track of how many young people find jobs during the summer, when employment of 16-to-24-year-olds typically peaks. Last month, the share of young people who were employed was just 48.8 percent, the lowest July rate on record.”

More Time Off? Tricky Pay Decisions

Robin Thomas • Payscale - Compensation Today • August 25, 2011

“Since nonexempt employees only have to be paid for time actually worked, employers have greater flexibility in providing them with unpaid time off for absences of less than a day. Accordingly, you have the discretion to have a policy that allows nonexempt employees to take unpaid time off.  With exempt employees, however, the issue is a little trickier. You can allow them to take the time off, but if an exempt employee does not have any paid time off available, you should not dock his pay.”

Should Pumping at Work Get You Fired? ACLU Says No

Bonnie Rochman • Time - Healthland • August 24, 2011

“Many working women may have the flexibility to take the 10 to 20 minutes required to pump whenever they need to, but teachers and other workers, like bus drivers and doctors, who don’t have the freedom to schedule regular breaks or gain access to a private place to pump, may find it particularly difficult to continue doing so.”

‘There’s no such thing as work-life balance’

Sabrina L. Schaeffer • Hill - Pundit's Blog • August 24, 2011

“The fact is being pregnant and taking time off for maternity leave doesn’t come without some challenges — and losses — for a company. As any woman who’s had a child will admit, there is certainly more time spent away from the office for doctor’s appointments, and businesses are often required to shift work responsibilities when women take maternity leave.  Ignoring these economic realities is narrow-minded.”

A Different Kind of Economic Imbalance

Ben Casselman • Wall Street Journal - Real Time Economics • August 24, 2011

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found a strong correlation between the number of female students and the number of female professors. Programs with the most female professors, such as UC-Berkeley and, more recently, MIT, also tended to have the highest percentage of female PhD candidates. Universities with male-dominated faculties, such as the University of Chicago and UPenn, also had few female graduate students.”

President Obama Models Work-Life Balance as Dad-in-Chief

Lauren Stiller Rikleen • Fortune - She Negotiates • August 22, 2011

“The national frenzy over whether President Obama should have cancelled his family vacation because of the country’s fiscal crisis offers a textbook case of hypocrisy at work. It also sends all the wrong messages about working fathers and their family responsibilities. That symbolism is particularly important when the working father is the president of the United States.”

Global News

Fair Work laws ‘offer flexibility’

Ben Schneiders • Sydney Morning Herald • August 26, 2011

“An analysis by the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations found 63 per cent of workers covered by Fair Work agreements have at least a ‘model’ clause that allows employers and employees to trade off hours, overtime, penalties, allowances and leave loading. […]The analysis also found 73 per cent of workers covered by Fair Work agreements can negotiate flexible working hours while under WorkChoices that applied to only 18.8 per cent of workers covered by collective agreements.”

Commuting is ‘more stressful for women than men’

• Press Association • August 22, 2011

“The daily grind of travelling to and from work has a negative effect on the mental health of women, a study has found. Men, on the other hand, are generally unaffected, despite commuting taking up more of their time.  The reason could be that women have more responsibility for day-to-day household tasks, such as childcare and domestic chores, researchers believe. This could make them more sensitive to the pressures of commuting.”