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A survey at Glassdoor found that four out of five employees would rather have new benefits instead of a pay raise, and family-friendly workplaces in Chicago say catering to parents with more than maternity and paternity leave can improve productivity and job satisfaction. In Chicago, the companies that ranked highest in the 2019 Best Places to Work survey have a collection of parent-friendly assets, ranging from adoption benefits to lactation rooms to flexible work hours and location, along with family-friendly functions. Some companies are offering child-care support when business travel is required, while others are expanding their adoption benefits. Beth Cabrera, Burwood Group’s director of human resources, says her Chicago-based company – which was No. 5 on the Best Places survey – offers a two-hour flex time that can be used at the beginning or end of the day, a flexible work-from-home policy, summer hours, four weeks of paid time off and a four-week paid sabbatical program for everyone who’s been with the firm for five years. Elizabeth Knutson, executive director of the Neighborhood Parents Network in Chicago, adds that the key for parents is to provide them with the flexibility they need to attend school performances, chaperone a field trip, take a child to their doctor’s appointment and more. At New Home Star (No. 3), based in Elmhurst, employees have a flex start time, get unlimited vacation days and can work from home 24 days per year. Children are also welcome at the office, whether it’s during a corporate outing or just a typical day of work.

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