IWPR's Research News Reporter is distributed to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families.
Research Making the News
Research Making News ____________________________
Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:
By Daniel B. Wood
Christian Science Monitor
February 11, 2011
Citing: San Francisco's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Outcomes for Employers and Employees by Robert Drago, Ph.D., Institute for Women's Policy Research, and Vicky Lovell, Ph.D.
"When San Francisco four years ago became the first city in the country to require employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees, it was considered controversial because of the host of unknowns that came alongside: Would employees abuse the privilege? Would it cost too much for businesses? What unintended consequences would show up?"
Now, the Institute for Women's Policy Research has released a survey of how the policy has worked for the first four years, during which city employers added 59,000 employees - 17 percent of the city's work force - to the rolls of those receiving that benefit. [...]
The study of 727 employers and 1,194 employees found that two-thirds of employers support the law. It found that it is rare for employees to misuse paid sick days and that workers tend to save them for emergency use and thus end up using far fewer than the maximum allowed. [...]"
By Ellen Galinsky
February 24, 2011
Citing: Workplace Flexibility and Low-Wage Employees by James T. Bond and Ellen Galinsky and Workplace Flexibility in the Health Services Industry by Ellen Galinsky and Kelly Sakai, Families and Work Institute
"[...] Last week, Families and Work Institute released two reports for the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau and its cross-country National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility. [...]
The report [released February 18] on the Health Services industry shows that this industry is MUCH more likely to provide flexibility than other industries. In fact, of the 31 types of flexibility we investigate, health service employers offer greater access in 14 of them - ranging from flex time, to moving in and out of part-time work, to gradual return to work after childbirth, to phased retirement, and sabbaticals. [...]
When you look at the findings [for low wage workers overall and health industry workers] side by side [...], there are some stark differences. For example: [...]
·65% of low-wage employees have paid vacations, compared with 78% of health services employees.
·48% of low-wage employees have access to at least five days of paid time off for personal illness compared with 62% of health service employees.
·35% of low-wage employees have access to at least five days of paid time off for the care of sick children, compared with 48% of health services employees. [...]
The Health Services Industry is a growth industry and these employers are more likely to see flexibility as a business tool [...] rather than a perk or a favor (75% do compared with 65% in other industries). [...]"
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of Workplace Flexibility and Low-Wage Employees, click here. To download a free PDF Of Workplace Flexibility in the Health Services Industry, click here. To learn more about the Families and Work Institute, visit their website.
By Carol Morello
The Washington Post
February 17, 2011
Citing: The Public Renders a Split Verdict on Changes in Family Structure by Rich Morin, Paul Taylor, and Wendy Wang, Ph.D., Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends Project
"Even though most Americans have grown more comfortable with same-sex or unmarried couples raising children, they still view single mothers as detrimental to society, according to a new poll of attitudes toward the country's soaring number of nontraditional families. [...]
The poll asked about 2,700 people for their views on seven trends in modern relationships that are upending what used to be considered the traditional family: unmarried parents raising children; gay couples raising children; single mothers; partners living together outside marriage; working mothers; interracial marriage; and women who never bear children. [...]
Roughly a third said the trends have no effect on society or are positive. People who had positive views of the changing family were overwhelmingly women, Hispanics and East Coast residents who rarely if ever attend religious services.
Another third considered most of the changes harmful to society. The only trends they accepted were interracial marriage and fewer women having children. [...]
The third group tended to accept all the changes except for single motherhood. Virtually all of them said the growing prevalence of mothers without male partners to help them raise children is bad for society. This group tended to be young, Democratic or independent, and more heavily minority. [...]"
By Tim Newcomb
February 11, 2011
Citing: Women Give 2010: New Research about Women and Giving by Debra J. Mesch, Ph.D., Women's Philanthropy Institute
"[...] According to a recent study by the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the University of Indiana, women are as much as 40% more likely to donate than men. What's more, women at nearly every income level are better givers. Not only do they give more often; they also tend to donate more. [...]
The study, titled "Women Give 2010," is, according to [Debra Mesch, the director of the Institute] the first to look at philanthropy by gender. Mesch studied 2,532 single-headed households of comparable income and their giving habits. [...]
The gender giving gap varied by type of charity. The one category in which women were less likely than men to give to a charity was arts and culture. For all other causes [...], women were more likely donors. Women were 55% more likely donors to international causes than men, 42% more likely to religious organizations, and 32% more likely to youth and family groups. [...]"
Research Reports ____________________________
Each selection includes a short exceprt from the research and a link to the report:
Dean Baker and David Rosnick
Center for Economic and Policy Research
"This paper outlines a proposal for a default savings plan that is intended to provide an important supplement to retirement income for the bottom half of the workforce, most of whom have little other than Social Security to support themselves in retirement at present. Under the proposal, workers would make a default contribution of 3.0 percent on annual wages up to $40,000. They could opt out from this contribution if they choose. The contribution would be automatically turned into an annuity at retirement although workers would have the option to make a lump sum withdrawal after paying a modest penalty. The lowest income workers would get a modest contribution paid into the system by the government based on their earnings. [...] Based on assumptions derived from research on participation in default savings plans, the Tax Policy Center of the Brooking Institution and the Urban Institute calculated the projected average contribution rate by income and household type. The exercise showed that the plan would lead to a substantial increase in retirement savings for workers in the bottom three quintiles. [...]"
Wilhelmina A. Leigh, Ph.D.
Joint Center for Policy and Economic Studies
"[...] African Americans value and depend on the Social Security system and its benefits. During public discourse about the need to reform or modify the current system, however, the value of Social Security to black Americans is often debated and sometimes misrepresented or discounted. For example, some erroneously believe that because of their shorter life expectancy, African Americans do not benefit from the Social Security system. This primer provides facts and figures to illuminate the many ways black Americans participate in and benefit from Social Security. Social Security benefits are the only source of income for two of every five African American retiree households age 65 or older receiving benefits. More than a third of African Americans expect Social Security to be their major source of retirement income. One of every five children (nearly 21 percent) who receive Social Security disability benefits is African American, although they are only 15 percent of all children in the United States. [...]"
Gregory Mills, Jessica F. Compton, and Olivia Golden
"Even in good economic times, low-wage earners make up more than a quarter of working Americans. In 2001, an estimated 27 percent of nonelderly workers earned an hourly wage below that required for a full-time, year-round worker to keep a family of four out of poverty [...]. Almost half of these low-wage workers live in low-income working families, meaning families whose total income is less than twice the federal poverty line [...]. This paper homes in on one strategy that the United States has chosen to help these families stabilize their lives and employment and provide for their children: public work support programs that supplement paychecks and help low-income working parents afford food, health care, and child care. The paper's goal is to address three large questions [...]. First, how well do health, nutrition, and child care subsidy programs (individually and as an integrated package) reach low-income working families? Second, what benefits do families gain from participating in the programs, including short-term benefits, such as meeting day-to-day needs, and longer-term benefits, such as more stable work and higher earnings? Third, what benefits accrue to state agencies if they modernize their approach to program administration, within individual programs and across programs? [...]"
Human Rights Watch
"This report is based on interviews with 64 parents across the country. It documents the health and financial impact on American workers of having little or no paid family leave after childbirth or adoption, employer reticence to offer breastfeeding support or flexible schedules, and workplace discrimination against new parents, especially mothers. Parents said that having scarce or no paid leave contributed to delaying babies' immunizations, postpartum depression and other health problems, and caused mothers to give up breastfeeding early. Many who took unpaid leave went into debt and some were forced to seek public assistance. Some women said employer bias against working mothers derailed their careers. Same-sex parents were often denied even unpaid leave."
Joan Williams and Penelope Huang
Center for WorkLife Law, University of California - Hastings
"This report provides employers with the tools they need to gain a competitive edge by improving what workforce experts call schedule effectiveness. One key to schedule effectiveness is to gain an understanding of the constraints that need to be programmed in to develop an effective schedule-including the constraints employees face as they fulfill their family responsibilities. This report offers a better understanding of those constraints by providing vivid, capsule descriptions of how work and family fit together for low wage and higher-wage hourly workers. [...] Whereas the key problem with many just-in-time scheduling systems is excessive schedule instability, a different problem is that schedules in most hourly jobs are too rigid. Hourly workers typically cannot decide when to take breaks, typically cannot vary their hours even by a few minutes, and must be on call to work mandatory overtime. This report offer tools that will allow employers to offer more workplace flexibility."