The White House Conference on Families sent its final report to President Carter and met with corporate officials to proselytize on behalf of a nearly unanimous recommendation -- that the workplace be reshaped to accomodate family concerns, including the needs of two-wage-earner families and single parents.
"Workplace issues ranked No. 1, achieving a virtual consensus among our delegates," said conference Chairman Jim Guy Tucker, who emphasized the harmony that characterized the controversial conference's final days.
The conference called for family-oriented personnel policies, including flextime, more sensible leave and transfer policies and shared and part-time jobs with proportional benefits.
The recommendation, adopted by 92.7 percent of the votes at the conference, ranked alongside a recommendation for new efforts to prevent alcohol and drug abuse as the least controversial policies adopted by the group.
In spite of the unanimity at the conference about such personnel policies, they are not yet widespread -- even with the federal government which is a major employer in this area.
Conference Executive Director John L. Carr said yesterday's meeting was the beginning of a "long-run effort . . . to try to persuade business it is in their interest as well as in the employes' interest" to try to reduce strains that workers' jobs impose on workers' families.
Tucker said he was surprised to learn how much major corporations already are doing to change personnel policies along the lines recommended. He said that representatives of the conference also would meet with union representatives to discuss making those changes issues in contract bargaining.
Getting changes adopted by small businesses is another problem which faces those who want to see the conferences' recommendations become a reality.
The recommendations of the conference were backed up by the findings of a Gallup survey. Among Gallup's findings were that a clear majority said more flexible working hours would be helpful in coping with conflicting demands of home and work; that approximately 40 percent believes that allowing a worker to take sick leave if a family member is sick would help; that some 30 percent wants a four-day workweek and nearly that same percentage favors child care facilities at their place of employment.