Category Archives: Flexible Work Arrangements

Marital Status Discrimination: Are Family-Friendly Policies Meeting the Needs of Unmarried Workers?

Source: Mary Curlew, Sloan Work and Family Research Network, Policy Brief no. 21, December 2009

From the summary:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 95.9 million Americans 18 years of age and older were unmarried in 2008, up from 37.5 million in 1970. Unmarried employees make up over 40% of the full-time workforce. [. . .] These facts do not lessen the claims of married workers with dependent children. However, they do point to the need for work and family policies that look beyond a narrow view of family and encompass the many different types of personal needs faced by today’s workers.
See also:
Topic Page on Single Workers
Marital Status Discrimination
Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions and Same-Sex Marriage
Unmarried America

Wellbeing & Business Performance

Source: Morgan Redwood, 2009
(registration required)

Companies pay huge attention to their key financials – sales margin, throughput, operational costs and so forth. However an asset that also drives corporate performance and which is often overlooked in tough times is people.

What impact is the current economic downturn having on people management? Do organisations see talent as a valuable resource or a commodity that can be easily replaced? What about staff wellbeing? Do the UK’s businesses see the health, happiness and mindset of their people as a detriment of corporate success and therefore something they should pay attention to? Perhaps most fundamentally, does the way a company treat its people impact on corporate performance?

Status of Telework in the Federal Government

Source: United States Office Of Personnel Management, August 2009

The Big Picture: Telework in 2008

• 78 agencies reported a total of 102,900 out of 1,962,975 employees teleworking
– 5.24% of the total population reported as teleworkers
– 8.64% of the eligible population reported as teleworkers
• 48 agencies (61%) reported an increase in their overall telework numbers
• 78% of agencies provide formal notice of eligibility to their employees
• 35% track the number of telework requests that are denied; 33 cases were due to performance or conduct issues, 160 were due to type of work
• 38% track the number of agreements that are terminated; 108 of these terminations were based on the employee’s decision, 31 were based on the supervisor’s decision due to a performance/conduct issue, and 78 were based on a supervisor’s decision due to a change in work assignments
• 23% of agencies use electronic tracking to count teleworkers, 83% use telework agreements, 53% use time and attendance (NOTE: agencies may select more than one category due to difference in tracking mechanisms at the sub-agency level, so the total exceeds 100%)
• 44 agencies have fully integrated telework into COOP (56.41%)
• 27 agencies reported cost savings/benefits as a result of telework; of these, the greatest benefit was to morale (24 agencies), then productivity/performance and transportation (22 each), then human capital (21) (note: agencies could select all that apply).
• In terms of major barriers to telework, office coverage was highest (48 agencies), followed by management resistance (38), organizational culture (36), and IT security and IT funding (both at 25) (note: agencies could select all that apply).
• To overcome these barriers, 42 agencies are offering training for managers, 35 are offering training for employees, 29 have increased marketing, and 21 have established or increased budget for IT expenditures (note: agencies could select all that apply).

Is There a Need for More Leave?

Source: Tina Ott Chiappetta, HR News, Vol. 75 no. 8, August 2009
(subscription required) (scroll down)

In May of this year, six senators wrote a letter seeking input from advocates about changing leave laws. It read, in part, “The structure of the American workplace is slowly beginning to respond to dramatic shifts in the nature of work, workforce demographics and the needs of families. However, Americans struggling with the demands of work still cannot always meet the needs of their families.”

In 2008, the letter’s authors created a Senate Staff Work Group on Workplace Flexibility with as many as 18 different senate offices exploring the problem of and solutions to a perceived need for more flexibility. The goal of the group is to develop consensus-based, bipartisan solutions that can work for both employers and employees. (IPMA-HR’s letter to the working group is available on the IPMA-HR Web site.)

Where Less is More Efficient

Source: John O’Leary, Governing, September 2, 2009

Atlanta’s four-day workweek has unexpected results.

The idea first arose during the days of $4-a-gallon gasoline in the summer of 2008. But now, even with energy prices way down from their peak, reduced work schedules or “furlough” programs keep popping up. In recent weeks, both Chicago and Rhode Island have saved money by shutting down non-essential services for a few days, and Utah has experimented with a four-day work week.

The current interest in reduced work schedules is easy to explain. With budgets drowning in red ink, cutting back on work schedules is an immediate way to reduce costs. But there are signs that the approach may have another, unexpected benefit: greater efficiency.

Atlanta’s experience is worth noting.

Gen Y in the Workforce

Source: Public Radio International, Here and Now, August 14, 2009

The following is not a full transcript; for full story, listen to audio.

Why companies are losing billions in turnover to the demanding millennials in their workforce.

The “millennial generation” includes people born between 1980 and 1999, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 40 million of them working in businesses today. Some are calling this generation “moofers” — mobile out of office workers — who “life-stream” their every move in blogs and on Twitter.

Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky is co-author of “Keeping the Millennials: Why Companies are Losing Billions in Turnover to This Generation — and What to Do About It.”

On “Here and Now,” she explained how many businesses are struggling to accommodate this generation that wants more flexibility, extra feedback, and more opportunity for career advancement.

Family-Friendly Workplaces: Do Unions Make a Difference?

Source: Jenifer MacGillvary with Netsy Firestein, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and
the Labor Project for Working Families, July 2009

This report analyzes the “union difference” in family-friendly workplace policies and finds that in areas such as paid family leave, paid sick days, family health insurance, and child-care benefits unionized workers receive more generous family-friendly benefits than their nonunionized counterparts.
See also:
Executive Summary
Press Release

Flexible Work Arrangements and Low-Wage Work: Creating Opportunity for Low-Wage Workers

Source: The New America Foundation, July 8, 2009

Low-wage workers are some of America’s most vulnerable workers. In addition to the problem of having low wages, many have little input into the hours that they work and many have unpredictable work schedules, with the timing and amount of work hours fluctuating from week to week. A cascade of negative consequences can flow from being unable to alter work schedules or know them in advance – including unstable child care; difficulty accessing work supports and job training; transportation problems; inability to hold down a second job; loss of wages and job loss.

Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) – including both employee input into scheduling and predictable work schedules – are an important part of the solution to these problems for low-wage workers and for employers. Come join the New America Foundation’s Workforce and Family Program and Workplace Flexibility 2010 of Georgetown University Law Center as our panelists present the latest research on scheduling challenges faced by low-wage workers, highlight common sense solutions that have been implemented by businesses and discuss how public policy can enhance access to FWAs for low-wage workers.

See also:
Low-Wage Schedules and the Child Care Struggle
Source: Lisa Guernsey, Early Ed Watch blog, New America Foundation, July 9, 2009
Public Policy Platform on Flexible Work Arrangements
Source: Workplace Flexibility 2010, May 2009

Who Wants and Gets Flexibility? Changing Work Hours Preferences and Life Events

Source: Robert Drago, Mark Wooden, and David Black, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 62 no. 3, April 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Using panel data for 2001-2005 from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, the authors examine workers’ desires for, and achievement of, work hour flexibility. They estimate a dynamic model that controls for preferences in previous years and tests for the effects of life events on both desired employment and desired work hours. Many life events, such as motherhood and retirement, are found to have predictable effects. Parallel regressions are estimated for actual employment and the number of hours usually worked, and the results are compared to those for preferences. The dynamics of usual hours often mirror those for preferences, suggesting that labor markets function effectively for many employees. However, mismatches are associated with three life events: motherhood, widowhood for men, and job loss. The results also suggest that many men and women would extend employment under phased retirement programs, although only for a brief period.