Employee Benefits Taking Up More Payroll

January 22, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employee benefits cost 42.3% of payroll in 2002, an increase from 2001's 39%.

Medically related payments accounted for the lion’s share of employee benefit costs in 2002 and also saw the sharpest increase. Medical benefits accounts for 15.2% of payroll costs in 2002, up from 11% in 2001, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce’s release of its annual benefits survey.

Coming in second among payroll benefit expenditures were compensation for holidays and time off, which accounted for 11.6% of payroll. Retirement and savings payments, accounted for 6.2% of payroll costs and were third in terms of overall benefits expenses.

Overall, workers at companies participating in the US Chamber of Commerce’s survey received an average of $18,000 worth of employee benefits in addition to wages, the survey revealed. Of that amount

  • $6,300 went for medically related benefits
  • $5,000 went for payments for time not worked
  • $2,600 went for retirement benefits.

“Despite rising costs, employers continue to offer a broad array of benefits to their workers,” said Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce said in a news release. “These higher costs are being paid voluntarily by employers and demonstrate a commitment to employees and to maintaining a strong workforce.”

The Chamber has annually conducted an employee benefits study for more than 50 years. Nearly 400 companies participated in the latest survey.