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"Family Friendly" Companies Appealing to Workers

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CHAPEL HILL — Many employers have found they can use theterm "family friendly" to attract employees by offering ways to make lifeat work easier for parents of young children, or those caring for elderlyparents.

Now, organizers of a conference in Chapel Hill hope to showcompanies the strong benefits of that concept.

Nigel Alston is not a parent, but he spoke at the conference abouthis company's attitude toward its employees who are.

Affordable day care is one issue Integon Insurance Company in Winston-Salem is coping with. Alston says the company joined with SmartStart to help many employees afford day care.

Debra Torrence came to learn new strategies for helping more employersin Durham become family friendly.

Torrence says employers don't have to sacrifice profits byimplementing a family friendly policy. Flexible schedules and flexibleleave policies, she says, don't cost much, and they help employers in thelong run.

A 1990 census report shows half the work force is female and 80 percent of those with children in school now work. In addition, as many as 30percent of employees in the US care for elderly relatives.