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January 28, 2004
Benefits Take Bigger Bite

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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 benefits.

The survey found that the most common benefits offered by employers continue to include health and life insurance; paid holidays and vacation; and retirement benefits.

"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."
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