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Use BLS survey data to show employees the value of benefits

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in Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

A new survey by the U.S. Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers a great chance for HR pros to help employees understand the true value of their benefits.

The key finding of the BLS’s National Compensation Survey—released in August and based on polls of private employers nationwide—will come as no surprise: About half of the nation’s employees get health and retirement benefits through their employers. Those are by far the most common employer-provided benefits.

But other survey findings may provide a valuable opportunity to enlighten employees.

Advice: Show employees how much your organization shells out for their benefits compared to how much they pay. If they understand, for example, that you spend between $2 and $3.50 for every health-insurance dollar they spend, they’re more likely to value that benefit and want to take advantage of it.

Here are some eye-opening examples:

  • Most employees covered by employer-provided health insurance must contribute toward their own and their family’s coverage. The average monthly premiums employees pay are $87.37 for a single employee, and $312.78 for family coverage. Employer premiums for the same plans average $293.25 a month for singles, and $664.04 for families. Tip: Share your data and invite employees to do the math.
  • While health savings accounts (HSAs) are available to 8% of workers, most companies offer them only to managers, professionals and office staff. Tip: If you offer HSAs to all or most employees, make sure they know how rare that is.
  • Almost every worker whose employer offers life or disability insurance participates. Tip: Ask those on your staff who don’t participate in these programs why they don’t.
  • Private organizations offer eight days of paid vacation a year, on average, to full-time employees. Tip: Is your leave policy more generous? Make sure employees know.

The full BLS report is available at

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