Employee Benefits Survey

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

On this Page:

  1. What types of benefit data do you have?
  2. For what worker and establishment characteristics are benefit data available?
  3. How much has the cost of employer-provided benefits increased in the last 5 years?
  4. Can I get estimates on benefits for a specific position?
  5. Can I get projections on benefits?
  6. Are there micro data available to the public?
  7. Does BLS track sick-leave usage rates?
  8. What percentage of the American work force is covered by benefits such as employer provided childcare, employee assistance programs, or flexible workplace programs?
  9. Do you have information on mandatory benefits, and when an employee has the right to receive them?
  10. What are frozen retirement plans and how prevalent are they?
  11. What are high deductible health plans and how to they differ from traditional health plans?
  12. I am reviewing our current benefits to see how they compare with those of other small companies. Do you have any information that could help?
  13. How much do employees pay for health care?
  14. Under Flexible Spending Accounts, can an employer reimburse in monthly increments as the employee's contributions are made, or do they have to under all circumstances remit the full reimbursement at the time the receipt is received?
  15. How prevalent are cash account (cash balance) pension plans?
  16. Are more workers covered by indemnity plans or HMOs?
  17. Is my company mandated to give me a specific number of paid holidays?
  18. Do you provide information on the percent of workers with employer-provided health insurance?

What types of benefit data do you have?

The National Compensation Survey benefits series is an annual publication on the incidence and provisions of selected benefits provided by employers to their employees. The data are released in two stages. Initially, data are published on the incidence and key provisions of selected benefit plans and detailed provisions of paid holidays, life insurance plans, and other benefit plans. Employer and employee shares of contibutions to medical care premiums, and their average amounts are also presented. At a later date, more detailed information on the provisions on health or retirement plans are published.

For what worker and establishment characteristics are benefit data available?

Data are available by broad occupational groups, full-time and part-time employment, public and private sector employees, size of establishment, and for major industry sectors. Data are also presented for nine census divisions.

How much has the cost of employer-provided benefits increased in the last 5 years?

Data on employer-provided benefits costs and their changes are available from the BLS Employment Cost Trends.

Can I get estimates on benefits for a specific position?

We publish data on a limited number of detailed occupations, such as teachers in state and local government, for example. No occupational estimates are available for private industry workers.

Can I get projections on benefits?

We do not make projections. Try the Employee Benefit Research Institute for additional information.

Are there micro data available to the public?

NCS benefit micro data are available on a limited basis to researchers for the purpose of conducting valid statistical analyses. For more details and how to apply for access, see http://www.bls.gov/bls/blsresda.htm.

Does BLS track sick-leave usage rates?

We do not produce data on the use of such benefits. We do, however, produce data on availability of sick leave and other disability benefits as part of our benefits survey. Go to the NCS benefits home page for the most recent information at home page.

What percentage of the American work force is covered by benefit s such as employer provided childcare or adoption assistance?

The NCS benefits survey provides comprehensive data on the incidence and detailed provisions of selected employee benefit plans in private industry and State and local governments. For such benefits as childcare or adoption assistance, we only have data on incidence, and not details of provisions. Go to the NCS benefits home page for the most recent information.

Do you have information on mandatory benefits, and when an employee has the right to receive them?

The costs of legally required benefits (workers compensation, Social Security, Federal unemployment and State unemployment are published as part of the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) series. The cost trends of these legally required benefits are also included in the benefit series published as part of the Employment Cost Index (ECI). To view the latest benefit breakout go to http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/. We suggest for obtaining information on rights as they pertain to mandatory benefits, visit the Department of Labor Website.

What are frozen retirement plans and how prevalent are they?

Frozen retirement plans are defined benefit plans that are closed to new enrollees and that may limit future benefit accruals for some or all active plan participants. Some plans may no longer allow participants to accrue additional benefits, while others may change the plan's prospective benefit formula in such a way as to limit or cease future benefit accruals for some active participants. In addition to the reduction of workers covered by defined benefit plans, some are also becoming "frozen," or closed to new workers. See the NCS benefits home page for the most recent information.

What are high deductible health plans and how do they differ from traditional health plans?

A high deductible health plan typically has a higher deductible and lower premium than traditional health plans. Normally the plan includes catastrophic coverage to protect against large medical expenses, but the insured is responsible for routine out-of-pocket expenses. See the NCS benefits home page for the most recent information.

I am reviewing our current benefits to see how they compare with those of other small companies. Do you have any information that could help?

The NCS benefit surveys provide information by size of establishment. For the availability of leave, insurance, retirement, and other selected benefits by size of establishment, see the most recent publication at www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/#publications.

How much do employees pay for health care?

Data on employee and employer contributions to medical care can are available for civilian, private industry, and State and local government workers. For information on employee premiums for single and family coverage, see the most recent publication at www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/#publications.

Under Flexible Spending Accounts, can an employer reimburse in monthly increments as the employee's contributions are made, or do they have to under all circumstances remit the full reimbursement at the time the receipt is received?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a statistical agency with no jurisdiction over labor laws and regulations. For help on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov or contact them by phone at 1-800-829-1040.

How prevalent are cash account (cash balance) pension plans?

Cash account pension plans are a type of defined benefit plan. Like all defined benefit plans, retirement benefits are computed by a formula, with employers required to contribute sufficient funds to pay future benefits, and those future benefits are guaranteed by the Federal government up to certain limits. Cash account plans define their benefits as a lump sum, a sum which grows throughout the employee's career. When an employee leaves the employer or retires, the plan's benefits can be paid in a lump sum or converted to an annuity.

The percentage of workers covered by all types of defined benefit plans has been declining in recent years and those workers that do have such coverage are more likely to be covered by a cash account plan than ever before. To see the latest data, go to href="/ncs/#publications">www.bls.gov/ncs/#publications.

Are more workers covered by fee-for-service plans or HMOs?

According to the most recent data from the BLS surveys of employee benefits, the majority of all workers covered by an employer medical care plan were enrolled in a fee-for-service plan. The majority of fee-for-service participants are enrolled in Preferred Provider Organizations or PPOs, which allow enrollees to obtain services from any provider, but offer incentives if services are obtained from selected providers. Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs) obligate employees to use their providers exclusively to receive coverage. Finally, similar to the EPO is the Point-of-Service (POS) plans. POS plans combine features of PPOs and traditional HMOs. Enrollees receive more generous benefits for services within the network and less generous benefits for care received outside the network or for self-referrals.

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) plans, which provide comprehensive medical services on a prepaid basis, accounted for fewer participants than fee-for-service plans. Traditional HMOs provide no benefits outside the network (except for emergency care) and accounted for a majority of HMO participants. Open Access HMO plans, allow enrollees to receive services from specialists within the network without a referral from a primary care physician or out of network coverage but at higher costs in the form of higher deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance. Data on medical benefits from the latest benefit surveys may be found at www.bls.gov/ncs/#publications.

Is my company mandated to give me a specific number of paid holidays?

The Fair Labor Standards Act prescribes standards which affect most private and public employees. For more information on paid holidays, see http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/holiday.htm.

Do you provide information on the detailed provisions of employer-provided health insurance plans?

Yes. For the most recent information, see the latest benefit publication found at www.bls.gov/ncs/#publications.

Last Modified Date: January 3, 2013

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