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DOL Conference Points to Changes Coming to Work-Family

February 22, 2011
Last week I attended the Department of Labor’s conference to spark a National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility, run by the Women’s Bureau and Department of Labor in California. The goal of this conference was to have a business-to-business discussion on workplace flexibility. Over 400 business, union leaders, academics, work life consultants, and policy makers were there. The conference was opened by Sarah Manzano Diaz, the director of the Women’s Bureau and Hilda Solis, the Secretary of Labor who is the first female Cabinet-level Hispanic woman. Workplace polices and practices have not...

Helping the “Dagwood Sandwich” Generation

February 9, 2011
We often hear the term “sandwich generation.” This is a label coined by the media to describe adults caring for both their children and their elderly parents. They are in effect, sandwiched between two generations of their family. Within this group is a subset I like to call the Dagwood Sandwich Generation. Some of us are members of families that generally have children early in life rather than later. I’m a Dagwood. As a Dagwood, I have been very fortunate to have found employment with a forward-thinking company that provides flexible working arrangements for its associates. I have been the beneficiary of some type of flexible working structure since 1995. Johnson Storage & Moving’s custom-fit policies have benefited five generations of my family!

On the FMLA Anniversary, Let’s Focus on the Unmet Needs of Working Families

February 5, 2011
Cross-posted at the National Partnership for Women & Families . 18 years. That’s how long the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been in place. It was the first bill President Clinton signed into law and it remains one of the proudest accomplishments of his presidency. The FMLA is the first national law designed to help working families meet the dual demands of work and family. Incredibly, as I write this today, it’s also the last. As we celebrate this anniversary and reflect on how far we have come, we must renew our commitment to ensuring all working families have basic job...

It's Because We Are Asking, Listening and Acting: Creating Workplaces for the 21st Century

February 3, 2011
At a press conference on February 1, 2011 at the National Press Club announcing an unprecedented partnership between Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to create workplaces for the 21st century, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , said that when he meets world leaders, he works to understand what life is like for them. And likewise when he makes decisions for the military, he works to understand what life is like for them and for their families. And that was the theme song of the press conference--asking, listening,...

Real Family Values

February 2, 2011
By Portia Wu, vice president of the National Partnership for Women & Families , and Megan Renner, executive director of the United States Breastfeeding Committee . Every year roughly four million women give birth in the United States, and most of them (more than three-quarters) start out breastfeeding. Study after study has affirmed the value of breastfeeding in protecting both mothers and children from a host of acute and chronic diseases and conditions, saving billions in health care costs. Breastfeeding mothers also report feeling more closely bonded with their babies—a factor which...

The Career Mystique: An Interview with family scholar Stephanie Coontz Dads and Balance

January 26, 2011
As mothers, we talk a lot about balance. It’s an elusive concept—that sort of stands for being tired and overwhelmed. But even that conversation is highly unbalanced. It’s not a full discussion, because we don’t talk about balance for fathers nearly as much. Don’t both parents deserve to find a comfortable spot on the continuum of personal and occupational fulfillment. “We have to rise up against the idea that balance is a woman’s issue, says Stephanie Coontz, it’s equally a men’s issue. Currently, men are reporting higher levels of work family conflict than women.” Few people know more about...
Amy Cross's picture

Sandwich Generation in a Pickle?

January 25, 2011
Re-posted from Working Mother Magazine While all working women would benefit from access to paid sick leave, the latest data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that 44 million workers in the U.S. did not have access to a single paid sick day during 2010. A growing segment of women are facing an incredibly difficult battle in balancing work and family obligations. Women in the “sandwich generation,” or those who care for a child under the age of 18 while also caring for an elderly relative, face significant difficulty in fulfilling their responsibilities at the...
Michelle Noehren's picture

Let's answer this call!

January 21, 2011
Bravo, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin! Yesterday, the nation’s top doctor had the courage to say simply and starkly that mothers who breastfeed their babies need more support. In the “ Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding ,” the Surgeon General challenged all sectors of our society to support mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies. “Many barriers exist for mothers who want to breastfeed. They shouldn’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re a clinician, a family member, a friend, or an employer, you can play an important part in helping mothers who want to breastfeed.” -- Surgeon...
Ashley Boyd's picture

Only Human: 7 Keys to survival when your work life is rocked by illness

January 13, 2011
I'm only human despite being a self-proclaimed work life pundit. Fess-up time. My life has been less about the work life merge, and more about life and survival lately.

Memo to Accounting Firms: "Pull Back the Curtain"

January 10, 2011
Kyra Cavanaugh, president of Life Meets Work , responds to Flex Time Flourishes in the Accounting Industry , published January 7, 2011 in the New York Times. She challenges the piece which seems to hold forth the notion that major accounting firms have mastered work/life issues, and the idea that these firms have successfully transitioned women to the leadership track. Not so fast! Using the numbers for flex employees from the article, only 15% of Ernst & Young’s employees are working flexibly. So, as the article points out, certainly they’ve made strides, but you’d be hard-pressed to...
Kyra Cavanaugh's picture