Differences in benefits between government and private industry

July 08, 1999

State and local government workers receive more of their compensation in the form of insurance and paid leave than private industry workers. For example, insurance benefits represented 7.9 percent of the compensation of workers in State and local government on average in March 1999—in contrast, private industry workers received 5.9 percent of their compensation in insurance.

Selected benefits as a percent of total compensation, State and local government employees and private industry employees, March 1999
[Chart data—TXT]

Although paid leave was also a greater percentage of compensation for State and local government employees, the difference was somewhat smaller than for insurance. Paid leave accounted for 7.8 percent of State and local compensation and 6.3 percent of private sector compensation.

One benefit that was more important for private industry employees than for State and local government employees was supplemental pay. Private sector workers received 2.9 percent of their compensation as supplemental pay in March 1999, compared to just 0.9 percent for State and local government workers. "Supplemental pay" consists of premium pay (such as overtime), shift differentials, nonproduction bonuses, and lump sum payments provided instead of pay increases.

These data are a product of the BLS Employment Cost Trends program. Additional information is available from "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, March 1999," news release USDL 99-173.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Differences in benefits between government and private industry on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/jul/wk1/art03.htm (visited September 28, 2016).


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