Benefits Cost Employers a Bundle

The national average paid out by employers for employee benefits is 39% of total payroll costs.

This figure comes from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, based on a survey of nearly 400 U.S. companies of various sizes, industries and geographic locations.

Here are some of the specific figures from the survey:

The average payroll dollar is broken down like this: 61 cents in wages, 11 cents in medical benefits, 10.9 cents for holidays and vacation, 8.2 cents for legally required payments such as payroll taxes and Workers' Comp, 8 cents in retirement and savings contributions and 1 cent for other costs.

Here's what the benefit dollars go for:

However, "average" percentages can be misleading. Comparing your own company's benefits costs to a national average is not very helpful.

Smart strategy: Do a breakdown of your payroll costs. Calculate how much each item in the employee's payroll costs. Then share this information with your employees once a year in a report. The more employees know exactly what they receive — and what it costs the more likely they'll appreciate the full value of their job.

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