Bigger establishment, usually better benefits

August 15, 2000

Employers’ outlays for benefits, both in dollar amounts and as a percent of total compensation, increase with establishment size. There are some benefits, however, in which employees of small establishments are roughly as likely to participate as are employees of medium and large establishments.

Ratio of participation in selected benefits of employees in larger establishments to employees in small establishments, 1996-97
[Chart data—TXT]

As an example of the more generous benefits in larger companies, about 12 percent of workers in establishments with fewer than 100 employees participated in a defined-benefit pension plan. The corresponding figure among workers in medium and large establishments was almost 4 times as great at 45 percent. Other benefits in which employees of larger plants were at least twice as likely to participate included military leave, long-term disability insurance, dental insurance, and unpaid family leave. (These benefits are shown in blue in the chart.)

There were some benefits in which employees of larger and smaller establishments participated at about the same rates. Examples included paid family leave, medical care, vacations, holidays, and sick leave.

These data are the products of the Employee Benefit Survey and the Employment Cost Trends program. Read more about benefit participation in "Private Sector Employee Benefits, 1996-97" (PDF 38K), by Ann C. Foster, Compensation and Working Conditions, Summer 2000.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Bigger establishment, usually better benefits on the Internet at (visited September 24, 2016).


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