February 14, 2013

Average Employer Costs for Wages and Benefits Per Hour

The BLS tracks the cost of employment for employers.   The Employer Cost for Employee Compensation is part of the Employment Cost Trends data.

From the BLS table  this is data for the series : Employer costs per hour worked for employee compensation and costs as a percent of total compensation: Civilian workers, by major occupational and industry group, September 2012


Here is the full table for all workers :


Total compensation $30.80 100.0%



Wages and salaries 21.32 69.2%



Total benefits 9.48 30.8%



Paid leave 2.14 6.9%
  Vacation 1.04 3.4%
  Holiday 0.65 2.1%
  Sick 0.33 1.1%
  Personal 0.12 0.4%



Supplemental pay 0.75 2.4%
  Overtime and premium 0.24 0.8%
  Shift differentials 0.06 0.2%
  Nonproduction bonuses 0.45 1.5%



Insurance 2.76 9.0%
  Life 0.05 0.2%
  Health 2.62 8.5%
  Short-term disability 0.05 0.2%
  Long-term disability 0.04 0.1%



Retirement and savings 1.42 4.6%
  Defined benefit 0.87 2.8%
  Defined contribution 0.56 1.8%



Legally required benefits 2.41 7.8%
  Social Security and Medicare 1.72 5.6%
  Social Security 1.38 4.5%
  Medicare 0.35 1.1%
  Federal unemployment insurance 0.03 0.1%
  State unemployment insurance 0.21 0.7%
  Workers' compensation 0.44 1.4%

The major benefit non-wage benefit costs are in gray and the sub-costs for each of those are listed below them.   Not everyone has all these costs of course but these are just nation wide averages.   For example they list both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement costs and most people have one or the other but not both.

You can tell this comes from a government ran website cause everyone else would say 'taxes' instead of 'legally required benefits'.  

Here is a graphic of the major cost components :



From the employee perspective I would look at 'paid leave' as part of wages.   My paycheck is for my salary which combines days I work and days I don't  work.    Of course getting my vacation time and holidays paid is a benefit of my job so you can consider it a benefit cost too.

Again, this will vary considerably from job  to job and employer to employer.   A highly compensated executive will have a lower percent of their compensation in health insurance and taxes and a low paid retail clerk may see zero compensation in many of the benefit categories.


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