Tuesday, July 28, 2009


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

[full-text, 20 pages]

 While about 70 percent of workers in private industry had access to employer provided medical care
benefits in March 2009, only 25 percent of the lowest wage earners -- those with average hourly wages in
the lowest 10 percent of all private industry wages -- had such access, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of
the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  By contrast, nearly all workers with hourly wages in the
highest 10 percent of all private industry wages had access to medical care benefits. (See table 2.) A
worker with access to medical care benefits is defined as having an employer-provided medical plan available
for use, regardless of the worker's decision to enroll or participate in the plan. These data are from the
National Compensation Survey (NCS), which provides comprehensive measures of occupation earnings, compensation
cost trends, and incidence and provisions of employee benefit plans. Farm and private household workers,
the self-employed, and Federal government workers are excluded from the survey.

     The following are additional findings:

     *  Medical care benefits were available to 71 percent of private industry workers, compared with 88
     percent among State and local government workers.  About half of private industry workers participated
     in a plan, less than the 73 percent of State and local government workers.  (See table 2.)

     *   Employers paid 82 percent of the cost of premiums for single coverage and 71 percent of the cost for
     family coverage, for workers participating in employer sponsored medical plans. The employer share for
     single coverage was greater in State and local government (90 percent) than in private industry (80 percent).
     For family coverage, the employer share of premiums was similar for private industry and State and local
     government, 70 and 73 percent, respectively. (See tables 3 and 4.)

     *   Among full-time State and local government workers, virtually all (99 percent) had access to retirement
     and medical care benefits.  Of full-time workers in private industry, only 76 percent had access to
     retirement benefits and 86 percent to medical care. Part-time workers had less access to these benefits in
     both private industry and in State and local government; about 40 percent of part-time workers had access
     to retirement benefits and about 25 percent had access to medical care benefits. (See tables 1 and 2.)

     *   Sixty-seven percent of private industry employees had access to retirement benefits, compared with
     90 percent of State and local government employees.  Eighty-six percent of State and local government
     employees participated in a retirement plan, a significantly greater percentage than for private industry
     workers, at 51 percent. (See table 1.)  The NCS has broadened the definition of access to retirement benefits.
     For more detail on this change, see the article in Compensation and Working Conditions Online at

     *  Paid sick leave was available to approximately two-thirds of workers.  Nearly 90 percent of State and
     local government workers had access, significantly greater than the approximately 60 percent of private
     industry workers.  (See table 6.)

AND MUCH MORE...including TABLES....

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       
E-mail: smb6@cornell.edu                  

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