A International spread Radically changed the work environment United States. More people are working from home than ever before. Meetings have moved from offices to screens. Workers are leaving en masse, pushing job vacancies to historic heights.
Amid widespread labor shortages, companies are offering pay raises and bonuses to attract employees. But what about the other benefits that make up the bulk of total employee compensation? If you ask employers, they will tell you that companies have expanded benefit plans after the outbreak, offering workers more flexible time, paid sick leave and mental health services. But official statistics show only modest gains in marginal benefits from the onset of the epidemic. Although the amount of non-wage compensation for low-wage workers increases faster than for high-wage workers, the disparity in the level of distribution remains enormous.
Health insurance, pay leave, pensions and other “extra” benefits distributed by private sector companies account for 29% of total compensation, on average, by 2021, up from 20% in the 1970s, according to the U.S. Secretary of State for Labor Statistics. (BLS). If you count the benefits like free food, the number will be even higher. A study published in 2018 by researchers from Harvard Medical School, University of California, Los Angeles and Rand Corporation found that the freedom to set your own time equals a 9% pay rise; And increased the likelihood of working from home by 4.1%.
But these benefits, such as pay, are unequally distributed. According to the BLS, 94% of private sector employees in the first quarter of income distribution receive health insurance through their employer, but only 40% of workers in the lower quarter. There are similar differences for life insurance (84% and 25%), pension benefits (90% and 44%) and sick leave with pay (94% and 52%). According to new research by Jason Sock of the University of Pennsylvania, differences in working conditions make things even more unequal. Using Glassdoor’s data, Sockin found that on a website where users can post anonymous reviews of their employers, higher-paying companies tend to offer better offers, thus increasing inequality in the labor market.
Initiatives to improve benefits during epidemics have done little to expand supply to more workers. BLS’s most recent national pay survey found that access to paid sick and family leave in the private sector increased by an average of four or five percentage points between March 2019 and March 2021, respectively. Flexible working hours are defined as freedom. To determine your own working hours, increase by just three percentage points. Peter Capelli, of the School of Warden at the University of Pennsylvania, says some companies are reluctant to spend on more expensive offers, even though they have added bonuses and university spending to attract workers. “I think they’re really opposed to moving towards benefits, and it costs them nothing,” Capelly says.
Although access to benefits has changed slightly, at least for some beneficiaries they are generous. Each year, BLS increases the amount of employee compensation costs. In 2021, 10% of low-wage workers saw an average increase of 9.2% in the actual value of benefits, the largest increase since data was first collected in 2009. In the 12 months ending September 2021, the average cost of benefits for those in the service sector, including cooks, caretakers and cleaners, increased by 3.3%; Compared with 2.6% of the total workforce.
It is hoped that such an increase will continue despite a shortage of labor. Sokkin says employees may also be watching the situation: “The epidemic has led to this recognition among workers. I think they need more than a salary.” But benefits worth less than $ 3 per hour for someone in the lowest paid 10% income distribution, compared to $ 25 for the 10% in the highest paid, the gap to be eliminated is really huge. /Translation of ROMINA CACIA
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