Benefits 30% of Employee Compensation Costs

March 12, 2008 ( - Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $28.11 per hour worked in December 2007, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Wages and salaries averaged $19.62 and accounted for 69.8% of compensation costs, while benefits averaged $8.49 and accounted for the remaining 30.2% of costs. Employers averaged $2.23 or 7.9% of total compensation for legally required benefits – Social Security, Medicare, federal and state unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation – for every hour worked in December 2007.

The BLS data showed employer costs for insurance benefits-life, health, and disability-averaged $2.34 per hour (8.3% of total compensation). Paid leave benefits (vacations, holidays, sick leave, and other leave) averaged $1.96 (7%); retirement and savings averaged $1.24 (4.4%); and supplemental pay averaged 72 cents (2.6%) per hour worked.

For private industry employers, in December 2007, compensation costs averaged $26.42 per hour worked. Wages and salaries averaged $18.67 (70.7%), while benefits averaged $7.75 (29.3%). Private industry employer costs for legally required benefits averaged $2.22 (8.4%) per hour worked, insurance benefits averaged $2.01 (7.6%), paid leave averaged $1.79 (6.8%), retirement and savings averaged 95 cents (3.6%), and supplemental pay averaged 79 cents (3%).

Employer costs for paid leave benefits were highest for management, professional, and related occupations at $3.93 per hour, or 8.4% of total compensation, BLS found. Paid leave benefit costs were lowest among service occupations at 58 cents or 4.4% of total compensation. Included in this amount were employer costs for vacations, holidays, sick leave, and other leave (such as paid personal leave).

The BLS data is here .