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Employee Benefits Survey
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The glossary is periodically updated to reflect changes in the National Compensation Survey. Information is applicable to estimates published as of this glossary’s release date. Prior versions of the glossary are available at Information on survey concepts, data sources, design, and calculation is available in “National Compensation Measures ,” in the BLS Handbook of Methods.

Glossary of Terms

Accidental Death and Dismemberment: Policy that pays additional benefits to the beneficiary if the cause of death is found to be accidental. Fractional amounts of the policy will be paid out if the covered employee loses a bodily appendage or sight because of an accident.

Blue-collar and service: Includes precision production, craft, and repair occupations; machine operators and inspectors; transportation and moving occupations; handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers; and service occupations.

Clerical and sales: Includes clerical, administrative support, and sales occupations.

Defined benefit pensions: A plan that calculates retirement benefits using specific formulas, generally based on salary, years of service, or both. Employers are obligated to provide to their employees the benefits derived from these calculations.

Defined contribution plans: A type of retirement plan in which the amount of the employer’s annual contribution is specified. Individual accounts are set up for participants and benefits are based on the amounts credited to these accounts (through employer contributions and, if applicable, employee contributions), plus any investment earnings on the money in the account.

Disability insurance: Includes paid sick leave, short-term disability, and long-term disability.

Establishment: An economic unit that produces goods or services (such as a factory or a store) generally at a single location. An establishment is not necessarily a firm; for example it may be a branch plant or a warehouse.

Flexible benefits: This type of plan provides employees a choice about their level of coverage among a number of different kinds of benefits, or gives employees pretax reimbursements for certain expenses related to employee benefits.

Full-time employees: Employees are classified as full time or part time in accordance with the practices of their establishments. Usually a full–time employee worked a 40–hour week.

Goods–producing industries: Includes manufacturing, mining, and construction.

Health insurance: Insurance plans that include coverage for medical care, dental care, and vision care.

Life insurance: A contract that pays the beneficiary a set sum of money upon the death of the policyholder. These plans pay benefits as a lump sum.

Long–term disability insurance: Provides a monthly benefit to employees who, due to injury or illness, are unable to perform the duties of their normal occupation or any other, for periods of time extending beyond their short-term disability and/or sickness and accident insurance.

Medical care: Type of insurance coverage that provides for the payment of benefits as a result of sickness or injury. Medical care coverage can be provided in a hospital or a doctor’s office. The three major types of medical care plans are: fee–for–service (FFS), preferred provided organization (PPO), and health maintenance organization (HMO).

Medium and large private establishments: Establishments employing 100 workers or more.

Occupational groups: Defined occupations selected for study classified in one of the following groups: Professional, technical, and related, Clerical and sales, and Blue-collar and service.

Part-time employees: Typically are scheduled to work fewer hours per week than full-time employees in the same work activity.

Professional, technical, and related: Includes professional, technical, executive, administrative, managerial, and related occupations.

Retirement plans: Includes defined benefit pension plans and defined contribution retirement plans.

Services-producing industries: Includes transportation, communications, electric, gas, and sanitary services; wholesale trade; retail trade; finance insurance, and real estate; and services.

Short-term disability insurance: Provides income protection to employees who are unable to work due to a non-work related accident or illness.

Sickness and Accident insurance: Provides payments at less than full pay for a fixed period of time to workers who lose time from work due to a non–occupational accident or sickness. Often, this insurance provides benefits in the period after sick leave runs out and long–term disability begins.

Small private establishments: Establishments employing fewer than 100 workers.

Survivor benefits: A series of payments to the dependents of deceased employees. Survivor benefits come in two types: first, the “transition” type pays the named beneficiary a monthly amount for a short period (usually 24 months). Transition benefits may be followed by “bridge benefits” that are a series of payments that last until a specific date, usually the surviving spouse’s 62nd birthday.

Time-off benefit: Provides paid or unpaid leave for specific uses, such as lunch periods, holidays and vacations, and maternity and paternity leave.


Last Modified Date: January 10, 2020