Benefits make up more than 30 percent of the typical job’s compensation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But figuring out what your benefits are worth isn’t always easy.
You may need to do a little digging to find how much your employer contributes toward health insurance, retirement plans and other perks. Some benefits also have nonmonetary value, and people can value the same benefits in different ways.
For example, people with health conditions are likely to appreciate guaranteed access to disability or life insurance that could be hard to get or prohibitively expensive otherwise. Someone with student loans may value a program to help with education debt far more than someone without student loan debt.
Now that open enrollment season is upon us again, it’s a great time to review your employer’s current offerings. Understanding what your benefits are worth could renew your commitment to your current job—or make you realize it’s time to seek out a better deal. If you’re thinking of becoming self-employed, you can better understand how much more you’ll need to earn to replace your current benefits.
Here are some of the most common benefits, along with typical employer contribution amounts, according to Mercer, an employee benefits consultant.
Health Insurance: $5,000 to $20,000
Employer-provided health insurance plans range from bare bones to fairly extravagant. On average, though, employers paid 83 percent of the $7,739 premium last year for single coverage and 73 percent of the $22,221 premium for family coverage, according to KFF, a health insurance research organization.
You can find what both you and your employer paid for your health insurance last year on your 2021 W-2, says Paul Fronstin, director of health benefits research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, or EBRI. The annual figure is often reported using a “DD” code.
Your employer also may break out its contribution on your pay stub. A pay stub is a document that provides the details of your gross and after-tax pay along with various deductions. You often can access your pay stub through your company’s online payroll system; ask your human resources department for details.
Premiums are just one factor in evaluating your health care coverage, of course. Deductibles, co-pays and provider networks matter as well. Having access to different types of plans can make open enrollment more confusing, but it also can help you tailor your coverage to your situation.
Retirement Savings Plan: 3% to 10% of Salary
EBRI surveys have consistently found that the benefit employees value most after health insurance is access to a retirement plan, with all other benefits coming in at “a distant third,” Fronstin says.
People who have workplace retirement plans such as 401(k)s are far more likely to save for retirement than those who don’t, according to AARP. These plans offer automatic paycheck deductions, and many sign people up automatically as well.