Employee Benefits in the United States news release text

Technical Contact:                                      USDL:  08-1122
     (202) 691-6199  NCSinfo@bls.gov

Media Contact:                                          FOR RELEASE:  10:00 A.M. (EDT)
     (202) 691-5902                                     THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2008
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     Two-thirds of private industry and State and local government workers (defined in this
survey as civilian workers) had access to retirement benefits and nearly three-quarters to
medical care in March 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor
reported today.  Access and participation in retirement and medical care benefits were
greater in State and local government than in private industry.  The data are from the
National Compensation Survey (NCS), which provides comprehensive measures of occupational
earnings, compensation cost trends, and incidence and provisions of employee benefit plans.
For the first time, this release includes data on benefits for civilian workers.  Farm
and private household workers, the self-employed, and the Federal government are excluded
from the survey.

     The following are some of the major findings:

     * Sixty-one percent of private industry employees had access to paid retirement benefits,
     compared with 89 percent of State and local government employees.  Eighty-six percent of
     government employees participated in a retirement plan, significantly greater than the
     approximately half of private industry workers.  (See table 1.)

     * Medical care benefits were available to 71 percent of private industry workers, compared
     with 87 percent among government workers.  About half of private industry workers participated
     in a plan, less than the nearly three-quarters of government workers.  (See table 2.)

     * Virtually all full-time employees in State and local government had access to retirement
     and medical benefits: 99 and 98 percent, respectively.  In private industry, only 71 percent
     of full-time workers had access to retirement benefits and 85 percent to medical care.
     (See tables 1 and 2.)

     * Employers paid 83 percent of the cost of premiums for single coverage and 71 percent of
     the cost for family coverage for workers participating in employer sponsored medical plans.
     Employer share for single coverage was greater in State and local government (90 percent)
     than in private industry (81 percent).  For family coverage, the employer share of premiums
     was similar for private industry and government, 71 and 73 percent, respectively.
     (See tables 3 and 4.)

     Incidence of employee benefits varied by employer and employee characteristics; patterns
varied between private industry and State and local government.  For example, while access
to employee benefits showed substantial variation by full- and part-time status in all
establishments, the differences, except for holidays and vacations, were greater in State
and local government than in private industry, where occupational group and establishment size
played a greater role.   Service occupations in private industry had significantly lower
rates of access to major benefits than workers in management, professional, and related
occupations, whereas in State and local government the differences between these two groups
were not as large.

     Access to paid holidays and paid vacations was greater in private industry, due in part
to the fact that many teachers and other employees in educational services who are employed on
the basis of 9-month contracts do not receive formal paid holidays or vacation benefits (see
Technical Note for more information on this topic).

     More information can be obtained by calling (202) 691-6199, sending e-mail to NCSinfo@bls.gov,
or by visiting the BLS Internet site, http://www.bls.gov/ncs/home.htm.  Regional Information
offices, listed on the Internet site, http://www.bls.gov/bls/regncon.htm, also are available
to answer any of your questions.


     More information will be published later this summer.  Included will be data for civilian,
private industry, and State and local government workers on the incidence and provisions of
health care benefits, retirement benefits, life insurance, short-term and long-term disability
benefits, paid holidays and vacations, and other selected benefits.  These results will be found
on the BLS Web site http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs.

     In addition, starting in the fall of 2008, a new "National Compensation Survey Benefit
Series" will be introduced.  As part of the new BLS Program Perspectives publication, the benefits
series will bring together a variety of benefits information from the National Compensation Survey
into one publication.  This publication will be available online at http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs.


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Last Modified Date: August 07, 2008