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Employee benefits.

Fringe benefits vary widely by geographic, establishment, and worker characteristics. For example, the number of days of paid vacations workers get each year typically increases the longer workers remain on the job. The vacation benefit also varied by a worker's union or nonunion status. For example, at 1 year of service, union and nonunion workers were eligible for almost the same number of days, whereas, after 25 years of service, union workers enjoyed 6 more paid vacation days than did nonunion workers.

Access to retirement benefits varied by the characteristics of the employer's establishment. Workers in goods-producing industries, for example, are more likely to have access to retirement benefits than are workers in service-providing industries. In addition, workers in medium-sized and large private establishments (those with 100 employees or more) enjoyed a higher rate of access to retirement benefits than did their counterparts in smaller establishments.

Workers in medium-sized to large establishments also had greater access to medical care benefits. Seventy-two percent of employees in establishments with 100 or more workers had access to a medical care plan. In contrast, fewer than half of employees in small establishments had access to such a plan.

Access to many benefits may also depend on a worker's occupation. Workers in service occupations had far less access to life insurance in March 2003 than did white-collar or blue-collar workers. At 56 percent, workers in white collar occupations had the highest access rate to life insurance. Access to life insurance among blue-collar workers was 53 percent. Among service workers, the rate was just 29 percent.

A worker's wage rate is also related to access to benefits. Workers in occupations averaging $15 an hour or more were in a much better position with respect to access to benefits than were those in occupations averaging under $15 in March 2003. The difference was particularly striking in rates of access to long-term disability insurance. Only 17 percent of those earning under $15 had access to such coverage, compared with half of those in the higher earnings category. With regard to short-term disability insurance, 29 percent of those earning less than $15 per hour had access to this benefit, while 53 percent of those earning more than $15 per hour had access. Learn more about the factors affecting benefits in "National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, March 2003," Summary 04-02.
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Title Annotation:Labor Month in Review
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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