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?

August 4, 2011

Articles

Why you get less vacation than your co-workers

Ruth Mantell • MarketWatch • August 3, 2011

“While paid vacations are available to most private-industry workers, there are wide gaps between various groups, according to recently released data from the Labor Department. Workers with higher wages, as well as those at larger firms and those that work full time, have the greatest access to paid-vacation benefits, according to the Labor Department.”

Sick-time proposal will be on Denver ballot

Steve Raabe • Denver Post • August 2, 2011

“A paid-sick-leave initiative will appear on the November ballot, the Denver clerk and recorder ruled Monday.  The measure, if passed by voters, would require employers in Denver to grant nine days a year of paid sick leave to full-time employees.  Businesses with fewer than 10 workers would need to provide five days of sick leave. The requirement would be prorated to fewer days for part-time employees.”

Employee Benefits in the United States

• Bureau of Labor Statistics • July 26, 2011

“Paid leave benefits continued to be the most widely available benefit offered by employers, with paid vacations available to 91 percent of full-time workers in private industry in March 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Access to these benefits, however, varied by employee and establishment characteristics. In private industry, paid vacation benefits were available to only 37 percent of part-time workers. Paid sick leave was available to 75 percent of full-time workers and 27 percent of part-time workers.”

Why the Gender Won’t Go Away. Ever.

Kay S. Hymowitz • City Journal •

“So why do women work fewer hours, choose less demanding jobs, and then earn less than men do? The answer is obvious: kids. A number of researchers have found that if you consider only childless women, the wage gap disappears. June O’Neill, an economist who has probably studied wage gaps as much as anyone alive, has found that single, childless women make about 8 percent more than single, childless men do (though the advantage vanishes when you factor in education). Using Census Bureau data of pay levels in 147 of the nation’s 150 largest cities, the research firm Reach Advisors recently showed that single, childless working women under 30 earned 8 percent more than their male counterparts did.”

“Significant work/life balance trends are evolving that will affect both lawyers and law firms. Firms that are not better adapted to their new immediate, local environment may find their survival threatened by declining revenues and profits per partner. Women lawyers leave law firms at a rate almost double that of lawyers who are men, at an estimated average cost to law firms in all cases of two times the lawyer’s salary. Law firms that fail to provide better working environments will continue to lose both cash and talented lawyers.”

Blogs

“For the past five years, she has also been the senior leader champion of the firm’s award-winning BDO Flex strategy.  Our group has had the privilege of working with the internal BDO team helping them develop and implement their business-based approach to flexibility in how, when and where work is done. In our interview, Taylor shares important insights into why work+life flexibility is a strategic imperative and about the process the firm has followed to make it part of the culture.”

Labor’s Decline and Wage Inequality

Steven Greenhouse • New York Times - Economix • August 4, 2011

“The study, ‘Unions, Norms and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality,’ found that the decline in union power and density since 1973 explained a third of the increase in wage inequality among men since then, and a fifth of the increased inequality among women.”

Chore Duty: Do Fathers Still Have It Easier Than Mothers?

Ruth Davis Konigsberg • Time - Healthland • August 3, 2011

“In my TIME cover story, Chore Wars, I added up the latest statistics on paid labor and unpaid labor among people who are employed full-time and concluded that men and women have never before had more equal total workloads.  Even though women are still doing more housework and child care than men, the greater hours of paid work that men do counterbalance women’s additional hours of unpaid work. But judging from the personal nature of the comments elicited by the piece, it appears to have reopened a very touchy topic: who’s really more put-upon, Mom or Dad?”

Paid sick leave in Seattle: study shows the need

Roger Valdez • Crosscut • August 3, 2011

“A much better argument is that those workers need paid sick leave for the same reasons all of the rest of us need it: working while sick or injured can makes the underlying condition worse. And it it can end up costing everyone more money by putting sick workers into our publicly financed safety net. An article I co-wrote a while back about a study conducted of local bar and restaurant workers shows that even the best protected and represented hospitality workers suffer most from work related illness. And of those workers, women suffer more from work related illness and injury.”

Global News

Germany Offers Alarming Statistics on Children

• Spiegel Online • August 4, 2011

“The German government has been attempting for a number of years to reverse the decline in birthrates and in the child population. Berlin has passed measures offering more generous maternity, and in some cases paternity, leave, and it offers monthly subsidies to offset the cost of having children as well as sending them to daycare.  Still, Germany hasn’t proven as flexible as other European countries in making society more friendly to working parents.”

“What benefits do employees really want? It may sound like a simple question, but bosses have been trying to figure this out for years. Companies may think they know what their staff want, but the reality can often prove to be different – one high-street bank found 70% of staff said they wanted subsidised gyms; but when provided, take-up was only 3%. So how do employers find out what their employees really want?”