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Winter 2012–13
Vol. 56, Number 4
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OOChart from past issues

What types of occupations provide the most access to employee benefits? Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that workers in the management, professional, and related occupations were the most likely to have access to these benefits.

Employers usually offer employee benefits in addition to salaries as a way to attract and retain workers. Common types of benefits include retirement or pension plans, medical plans, life insurance coverage, paid sick leave, and paid vacation. Access, in this case, is defined as the employee being offered the benefit by his or her employer, regardless of whether the employee chooses to participate.

As the chart shows, paid vacation time, retirement plans, and medical plans were the most accessible benefits for all occupational groups. Life insurance benefits and paid sick leave were among the least accessible for most occupational groups. The chart also shows that, overall, workers in service occupations had the lowest access to employee benefits. (For another look at leave and benefits data, see the Grab Bag item "More education for better access to paid leave," elsewhere in this issue of the Quarterly.)

These data come from the National Compensation Survey (NCS), which collects information on compensation costs and employee benefits for more than 120 million workers. To see the full report, visit For more information, write to the BLS Office of Compensation and Working Conditions, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Suite 4175, Washington, D.C. 20212. Or, check out the National Compensation Survey website at, call (202) 691-6199, or email

Access to benefits for civilian workers, by occupational group, March 2012

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Compensation Survey

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: December 27, 2012