Report: Greater Employee Participation in Employer-Paid Benefits

August 25, 2005 ( - In its National Compensation Survey on Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the US as of March 2005, the DoL's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) points out that participation rates are higher for benefits that are paid for by the employer.

The BLS survey found that nearly all employees with access to defined benefit pension plans, life insurance plans, and disability benefit plans participated in these employer-paid benefit plans. While 70% of workers had access to medical plans, only 53% participated. Fifty three percent of workers surveyed had access to a defined contribution plan, but only 42% participated.

The BLS also found that participation in non-employer-paid benefits varied according to the employees’ earnings. Seventy six percent of white collar workers with access to medical benefit plans participated in those plans, while 61% of service workers participated in medical plans offered them. Similarly, 85% of workers earning $15 an hour or more participated in a defined contribution plan and 70% of those earning under $15 an hour participated in their defined contribution plan.

Other key findings in the BLS survey include:

  • 21% of employees participated in defined benefit retirement plans and 42% participated in defined contribution retirement plans.
  • Paid leave was the most commonly provided employee benefit in the private sector – 77% of employees were offered paid holidays and vacations, 69% were offered paid jury duty leave, and 48% were offered paid military leave.
  • 63% of private firms offered health insurance benefits and about 50% offered at least one type of retirement plan.
  • Employee contributions toward medical coverage averaged $273.03 per month for family plans and $68.96 per month for single coverage.
  • 52% of employees had access to life insurance plans and 49% participated.
  • Short-term and long-term disability benefits were offered to 40% and 30% of employees, respectively, and nearly all participated.

The complete report of survey results can be found here .