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Availability of flexible work schedule and student loan repayment benefits in the United States, June 2019

In 1980, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published the Employee Benefits in Industry from a pilot survey of private sector benefit plans. The pilot survey included information on hours and days per week worked, paid and unpaid lunch and rest time, and paid leave.

Annually, the National Compensation Survey (NCS) program publishes statistics on the costs, coverage, and provisions of employer sponsored benefits. In order to produce relevant statistics about the national economy, the NCS periodically evaluates emerging trends in compensation and modifies the National Compensation Survey and methodologies.

Two new benefits were published for the June 2019 reference period: flexible work schedule1 and student loan repayment. While the data reflect the percentage of workers with access (available for their use) to these benefits, the NCS does not include additional details about the type of flexible hours arrangements available to workers, employee participation, eligibility requirements, nor the average dollar or maximum amounts employers may reimburse for tuition. These benefits will be incorporated into the annual Employee Benefits in the United States publication as part of the quality of life and financial benefits.

In June 2019, 3 percent of civilian workers (includes private industry, as well as state and local government workers) had access to student loan repayment and 11 percent had access to flexible work schedules.

Flexible work schedule

For the purposes of the NCS, if workers are able to set their own schedules within a general set of parameters they are considered as having access to flexible work schedule benefits.

For example, an employee may be required to work a minimum of five hours per workday, but work can be performed anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Workers may also have a compressed work schedule available to them, where employees may work longer hours each day but fewer days in a week (i.e., employees work four ten–hour days).

For civilian workers, a flexible work schedule was available to 6 percent of teachers and 26 percent of workers in management, business, and financial occupations. Seventeen percent of workers in New England had access to this benefit.

Chart 1. Percent of workers with access to flexible work schedules, June 2019

 

Table 1. Percent of workers with access to flexible work schedule by worker and establishment characteristics

 

Table 1. Percent of workers with access to flexible work schedule and standard errors, June 2019
Characteristics Civilian workers Private industry workers State and local government workers
Estimate Standard error Estimate Standard error Estimate Standard error

All workers

11 0.6 11 0.6 8 0.6

Worker characteristics

Occupations and occupational groups

Management, professional and related

19 1.0 23 1.3 8 0.7

Management, business, and financial

26 1.6 27 1.8 - -

Professional and related

16 1.0 20 1.5 7 0.7

Teachers

6 1.0 - - 5 1.1

Primary, secondary, and special education school teachers

2 0.8 - - 2 0.7

Registered nurses

9 1.7 - - - -

Service

8 1.2 8 1.3 6 0.7

Protective service

5 1.0 - - 7 1.2

Sales and office

10 0.7 10 0.7 13 1.3

Sales and related

9 1.1 8 1.1 - -

Office and administrative support

11 0.9 11 0.9 12 1.3

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance

4 0.6 4 0.6 7 1.9

Construction, and extraction, farming, fishing, and forestry

4 0.9 4 1.0 - -

Installation, maintenance, and repair

4 0.8 4 0.8 - -

Production, transportation, and material moving

3 0.6 3 0.5 7 2.8

Production

4 0.7 4 0.8 - -

Transportation and material moving

3 1.0 3 0.9 - -

Work status

Full-time

12 0.6 12 0.7 8 0.6

Part-time

8 1.0 8 1.1 8 1.4

Bargaining status

Union

6 0.6 4 0.7 8 0.8

Nonunion

12 0.6 12 0.7 8 0.8

Average wage within the following categories:(1)

Lowest 25 percent

6 0.9 6 1.0 7 0.8

Lowest 10 percent

7 1.5 8 1.8 5 1.0

Second 25 percent

7 0.6 7 0.7 9 0.9

Third 25 percent

11 0.8 11 0.9 7 0.8

Highest 25 percent

20 1.0 23 1.1 9 0.9

Highest 10 percent

25 1.6 29 2.0 10 1.1

Establishment characteristics

Industries and industry group

Goods-producing

9 0.8 9 0.8 - -

Construction

- - 5 1.1 - -

Manufacturing

- - 12 1.2 - -

Service-providing

11 0.7 12 0.7 8 0.6

Trade, transportation, and utilities

- - 5 0.8 - -

Wholesale trade

- - 8 1.7 - -

Retail trade

- - 3 0.6 - -

Information

- - 26 2.6 - -

Financial activities

- - 26 1.6 - -

Finance and insurance

- - 32 1.3 - -

Credit intermediation and related activities

- - 20 1.3 - -

Insurance carriers and related activities

- - 45 2.7 - -

Professional and business services

- - 18 2.1 - -

Professional and technical services

- - 35 4.3 - -

Administrative and waste services

- - 2 1.0 - -

Education and health services

9 1.1 10 1.7 6 0.7

Educational services

7 0.6 11 1.4 5 0.7

Elementary and secondary schools

2 0.5 - - 2 0.4

Junior colleges, colleges, and universities

16 1.4 14 1.8 18 2.2

Health care and social assistance

10 1.7 10 1.9 9 2.6

Hospitals

6 1.4 - - 4 1.7

Leisure and hospitality

- - 8 1.7 - -

Accommodation and food services

- - 8 2.0 - -

Other services

- - 11 2.6 - -

Public administration

12 1.1 - - 12 1.1

Public sectors

State government

- - - - 14 1.3

Local government

- - - - 6 0.5

Establishment size

1 to 99 workers

9 0.8 9 0.8 7 1.2

    1 to 49 workers

9 0.9 9 0.9 8 1.9

    50 to 99 workers

9 1.3 10 1.4 6 1.8

100 workers or more

13 0.6 14 0.8 8 0.6

    100 to 499 workers

12 0.7 12 0.8 8 1.4

    500 workers or more

14 1.0 16 1.3 9 0.7

Geographic areas

Northeast region

15 2.1 16 2.3 6 1.5

    New England division

17 2.9 18 3.3 11 2.7

    Middle Atlantic division

14 2.7 16 2.9 5 1.6

South region

10 0.8 10 0.9 6 0.9

    South Atlantic division

10 0.9 10 0.9 7 1.5

    East South Central division

10 2.3 10 2.7 10 1.4

    West South Central division

9 1.5 10 1.9 5 1.3

Midwest region

10 1.1 10 1.2 10 1.3

    East North Central division

10 1.5 10 1.6 8 1.5

    West North Central division

10 1.4 10 1.5 14 2.3

West region

10 0.7 10 0.8 10 1.0

    Mountain division

11 1.3 11 1.5 7 1.5

    Pacific division

10 0.9 10 0.9 11 1.2

Footnotes:
(1) Surveyed occupations are classified into wage categories based on the average wage for the occupation, which may include workers with earnings both above and below the threshold. The categories were formed using percentile estimates generated using data from the National Compensation Survey publication, "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - March 2019."

Note: Dash indicates no workers in this category or data did not meet publication criteria. For definitions of major plans, key provisions, and related terms, see the “Glossary of Employee Benefit Terms.”
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Compensation Survey

 

Student loan repayment

Student loan repayment is considered available to employees when employers provide monetary support to employees for education they already obtained. Ongoing educational expenses are not captured by the NCS.

Chart 2. Percent of workers with access to student loan repayment by census division, June 2019

 

Table 2. Percent of workers with access to student loan repayment benefits by worker and establishment characteristics

 

Table 2. Percent of workers with access to student loan repayment benefits and standard errors, June 2019
Characteristics Civilian workers Private industry workers State and local government workers
Estimate Standard error Estimate Standard error Estimate Standard error

All workers

3 0.2 3 0.2 4 0.4

Worker characteristics

Occupations and occupational groups

Management, professional and related

5 0.4 5 0.5 5 0.5

Management, business, and financial

5 0.5 5 0.5 - -

Professional and related

5 0.5 5 0.6 5 0.5

Teachers

5 0.5 - - 7 0.6

Primary, secondary, and special education school teachers

5 0.6 - - 6 0.7

Registered nurses

10 1.8 - - - -

Service

2 0.6 2 0.7 2 0.6

Protective service

1 0.4 - - 2 0.7

Sales and office

2 0.2 2 0.2 5 0.8

Sales and related

2 0.4 1 0.4 - -

Office and administrative support

3 0.2 2 0.3 5 0.8

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance

2 0.5 2 0.6 3 1.0

Construction, and extraction, farming, fishing, and forestry

2 0.7 2 0.7 - -

Installation, maintenance, and repair

2 0.8 2 0.9 - -

Production, transportation, and material moving

2 0.5 2 0.5 3 0.7

Production

3 0.9 3 0.9 - -

Transportation and material moving

2 0.5 1 0.5 - -

Work status

Full-time

3 0.2 3 0.2 4 0.4

Part-time

2 0.6 2 0.6 4 0.7

Bargaining status

Union

3 0.4 2 0.6 5 0.5

Nonunion

3 0.2 3 0.3 3 0.5

Average wage within the following categories:(1)

Lowest 25 percent

2 0.5 1 0.5 3 0.6

Lowest 10 percent

1 0.5 1 0.6 3 0.5

Second 25 percent

3 0.4 3 0.5 3 0.5

Third 25 percent

3 0.3 3 0.3 5 0.3

Highest 25 percent

5 0.5 5 0.5 5 0.7

Highest 10 percent

6 0.8 6 0.9 7 1.1

Establishment characteristics

Industries and industry group

Goods-producing

3 0.6 3 0.6 - -

Manufacturing

- - 3 0.9

Service-providing

3 0.2 3 0.3 4 0.4

Trade, transportation, and utilities

- - 1 0.3 - -

Wholesale trade

- - 2 0.7 - -

Transportation and warehousing

- - 2 0.7 - -

Utilities

- - 7 2.5 - -

Information

- - 4 1.6 - -

Financial activities

- - 6 0.5 - -

Finance and insurance

- - 8 0.7 - -

Credit intermediation and related activities

- - 6 0.9 - -

Insurance carriers and related activities

- - 10 1.6 - -

Professional and business services

- - 3 0.7 - -

Professional and technical services

- - 4 1.7 - -

Education and health services

4 0.4 4 0.6 5 0.5

Educational services

5 0.4 2 0.6 5 0.5

Elementary and secondary schools

4 0.5 - - 5 0.6

Junior colleges, colleges, and universities

6 0.9 4 1.0 8 1.1

Health care and social assistance

4 0.6 4 0.7 - -

Hospitals

7 1.0 - - - -

Leisure and hospitality

- - 3 1.2 - -

Public administration

3 0.7 - - 3 0.7

Public sectors

State government

- - - - 5 0.8

Local government

- - - - 4 0.4

Establishment size

1 to 99 workers

2 0.4 2 0.4 4 0.6

    1 to 49 workers

2 0.5 2 0.5 4 1.0

    50 to 99 workers

3 0.5 2 0.6 4 1.1

100 workers or more

4 0.3 4 0.4 4 0.5

    100 to 499 workers

3 0.5 3 0.5 3 0.7

    500 workers or more

5 0.4 5 0.6 5 0.5

Geographic areas

Northeast region

3 0.8 3 0.9 3 0.8

    New England division

6 2.8 7 2.9 - -

    Middle Atlantic division

2 0.4 2 0.5 3 0.8

South region

3 0.3 3 0.3 6 0.8

    South Atlantic division

4 0.4 3 0.4 6 1.0

    East South Central division

5 0.7 5 1.2 7 2.3

    West South Central division

2 0.3 2 0.4 5 1.6

Midwest region

3 0.4 2 0.5 3 0.9

    East North Central division

2 0.5 2 0.5 4 1.2

    West North Central division

3 0.8 3 0.9 3 1.0

West region

3 0.4 3 0.4 3 0.2

    Mountain division

3 0.6 3 0.8 1 0.3

    Pacific division

3 0.5 3 0.6 4 0.3

Footnotes:
(1) Surveyed occupations are classified into wage categories based on the average wage for the occupation, which may include workers with earnings both above and below the threshold. The categories were formed using percentile estimates generated using data from the National Compensation Survey publication, “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - March 2019.”

Note: Dash indicates no workers in this category or data did not meet publication criteria. For definitions of major plans, key provisions, and related terms, see the “Glossary of Employee Benefit Terms.”
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Compensation Survey

 

Student loan repayment is available to 3 percent for civilian and private industry workers and 4 percent of state and local government workers.

In private industry, 2 percent of workers in establishments with 1 to 99 employees and 5 percent of workers in establishments with 500 employees or more had access to the benefit. In state and local government, 4 percent of workers in establishments with 1 to 99 employees had access to this benefit and 5 percent of workers in establishments with 500 employees or more had access.

Additional resources

See Table 1. Flexible Work Schedule and Table 2. Student Loan Repayment for Excel versions of the HTML tables available in this factsheet.

Fact sheets:

NCS Glossary of Employee Benefit Terms — provides definitions of major plans, key provisions, and related terms.

Handbook of Methods: National Compensation Measures — provides information on the survey design, calculations, weighting, and imputation methods used to produce NCS estimates of compensation. Information on calculating the reliability of estimates (standard errors) is included in the calculation section.

Historical data

For historical information on the cost, coverage, and provisions of employer–sponsored benefit plans see the NCS publications list. BLS advises against making comparisons with previously published benefits estimates due to changes in weighting and sample rotation. The estimates presented were produced using June 2019 employment weights from the Current Employment Statistics program. The NCS uses a sample rotation, where one–third of the private sample is rotated each year except in years where the state and local government sample is rotated, which occurs approximately every ten years.

Comparing private and public sector estimates

Private industry estimates should not be directly compared with state and local government estimates as differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work activities and occupational structures. Manufacturing and sales, for example, comprise a large portion of private industry work activities but are rare in state and local government. Professional and administrative support occupations (including teachers) account for two–thirds of the state and local government workforce, compared with one–half of private industry. Additionally, 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 leave benefits for vacations or holidays. In many cases, the time off during winter and spring breaks during the school year are not considered vacation days for the purposes of the NCS.

END NOTES

(1) The household data from American Time Use Survey program on access to and use of leave — 2017 – 2018 are also avialable at www.bls.gov/news.release/leave.htm.

 

Last Modified Date: September 20, 2019