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January 28, 2004
Benefits Take Bigger Bite
Employee benefit costs rose to 42.3 percent of payroll costs in 2002, up from
39 percent in 2001, according to a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Workers at companies participating in the survey received an average of $18,000
worth of employee benefits in addition to wages, according to the survey of nearly
400 companies. Of that amount, nearly $6,300 went for medically related benefits,
with another $5,000 toward payments for time not worked and $2,600 for retirement
The survey found that the most common benefits offered by employers continue to
include health and life insurance; paid holidays and vacation; and retirement
"Despite rising costs, employers continue to offer a broad array of benefits
to their workers," says Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president. "These
higher costs are being paid voluntarily by employers and demonstrate a commitment
to employees and to maintaining a strong workforce."