Data in this release are from the National Compensation Survey (NCS), conducted by the U.S.
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This release contains March 2012 data on
civilian, private industry, and state and local government workers in the United States. Under the NCS
program, information on the incidence and provision of benefits is published in several stages. This news
release provides data on the incidence of (access to and participation in) selected benefits and the share
of premiums paid by employers and employees for medical care. An extensive number of tables on the
incidence of selected benefits will be available in the annual bulletin to be published in early fall, 2012.
Previous publications containing information on employee benefits for private industry and state and
local government workers are available on the BLS website http://www.bls.gov/ebs.
Averages for occupations within an establishment were used to produce estimates for average hourly pay
within the six earnings percentiles: Lowest 10 percent, lowest 25 percent, second 25 percent, third 25
percent, highest 25 percent, and highest 10 percent. The percentiles are computed using earnings
reported for individual workers in sampled establishment jobs and their scheduled hours of work. The
categories are based on the average wage for each occupation surveyed, which may include workers with
earnings both above and below the threshold. For the calculation of percentile estimates, the individual
worker hourly earnings are appropriately weighted and then arrayed from lowest to highest.
The published 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles designate position in the earnings distribution
within each published occupation. At the 50th percentile, the median, half of the hours are paid the same
as or more than the rate shown in the data tables, and half are paid the same as or less than the rate
shown. At the 25th percentile, one-fourth of the hours are paid the same as or less than the rate shown.
At the 75th percentile, one-fourth are paid the same as or more than the rate shown. The 10th and 90th
percentiles follow the same logic. The percentile values are based on wages published in the bulletin
National Compensation Survey: Occupational Earnings in the United States, 2010 (Bulletin 2753).
Values corresponding to the percentiles used in the tables are as follows:
Characteristics Hourly wage percentiles
10 25 50 (median) 75 90
Civilian workers $8.50 $11.17 $16.73 $26.25 $39.33
Private industry workers $8.25 $10.69 $15.87 $24.81 $37.89
State and local government $11.77 $15.52 $22.27 $33.01 $45.31
The tables on employer and employee medical premiums (tables 3 and 4) include participants in all
medical plans, with calculations for both single and family coverage. The calculations are not based on
actual decisions regarding medical coverage made by employees within the occupations. Rather, the
premium calculations are based on the assumption that all employees in the occupation have identical
Medical care plans provide services or payments for services rendered in the hospital or by a qualified
medical care provider.
Take-up rates are the percentage of workers with access to a plan who participate in the plan. They are
computed by using the number of workers participating in a plan divided by the number of workers with
access to the plan, multiplied by 100, and rounded to the nearest one percent. Since the computation of
take-up rates is based on the number of workers collected rather than rounded percentage estimates, the
take-up rates in the tables may not equal the ratio of participation to access estimates.
Leave benefits for teachers
Primary, secondary, and special education teachers typically have a work schedule of 37 or 38 weeks per
year. Because of this work schedule, they are generally not offered vacation or holidays. In many cases,
the time off during winter and spring breaks during the school year is not considered vacation days for
the purposes of this survey.
The March 2012 NCS benefits survey represented about 123 million civilian workers; of this number,
about 104 million were private industry workers and 19 million, state and local government workers (see
Appendix table 2).
The March 2012 benefits survey included a sample of 12,545 establishments. The definitions in
Appendix table 1 are as follows:
Responding. The establishment provided information on at least one usable occupation. An occupation
is classified as usable if the following data are present: earnings, occupational characteristics (full- vs.
part-time schedule, union vs. nonunion status, and time vs. incentive pay type), and work schedule.
Refused or unable to provide data. The establishment did not provide earnings, occupational
characteristics, and work schedule data for any occupation.
Out of business or not in survey scope. The establishment is no longer in operation. Establishments not in
the survey scope include farm and private households, the self-employed, the Federal government, and
locations of an establishment that are not in the sampled area. Also excluded are establishments with no
workers within the survey scope. For example, an establishment where all the workers are also owners
would be excluded.
For research articles on employee benefits, see the Monthly Labor Review or Compensation and Working
Conditions Online at the BLS Web sites http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/home.htm and
http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/home.htm. For further technical information, see Chapter 8, "National
Compensation Measures," of the BLS Handbook of Methods at:
http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch8.pdf and http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch8_a.htm.