Category Archives: Compensation

Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations

Source: Stella Fayer and Audrey Watson, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spotlight on Statistics, December 2015

Whether you are filling a prescription, trying to find relief for a toothache, or looking for advice on proper nutrition, you probably will turn to a healthcare professional. Healthcare occupations represent a significant percentage of U.S. employment and are essential to the country’s economic health. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare fields. This Spotlight on Statistics uses May 2014 Occupational Employment Statistics data to examine employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

The Effects of Collective Bargaining Rights on Public Employee Compensation: Evidence from Teachers, Firefighters, and Police

Source: Brigham R. Frandsen, ILR Review, Vol. 69 no. 1, January 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Widespread public-sector unionism emerged only in the 1960s, as individual states opened the door to collective bargaining for state and municipal workers. In this study, the author exploits differences in timing of legislative reforms across states to construct estimates of the causal effects of public-sector collective bargaining rights on pay, benefits, and employment for teachers, firefighters, and police. Perhaps surprisingly, estimates that allow for state fixed effects and state-specific trends show little effect on teachers’ pay, benefits, or employment, despite significantly increasing union presence among teachers. For firefighters, the results show a substantial positive effect on wages. For police, the wage effect was more modest but the workweek was significantly shortened.

Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables

Source: Ida A. Brudnick, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, 97-1011, December 23, 2015

Congress is required by Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution to determine its own pay. In the past, Congress periodically enacted specific legislation to alter its pay; the last time this occurred affected pay in 1991. More recently, pay has been determined pursuant to laws establishing formulas for automatic adjustments. ….. This report contains information on the pay procedure and actions and freezes since the last pay adjustment in 2009. It also contains historical information on the rate of pay for Members of Congress since 1789; the adjustments projected by the Ethics Reform Act as compared to actual adjustments in Member pay; details on past legislation enacted with language prohibiting the annual pay adjustment; and Member pay in constant and current dollars since 1992…..
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Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2015
Source: Ida A. Brudnick, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, 97-615, December 23, 2015

Money begets money: For many lawmakers, salary is secondary
Source: Sarah Bryner, OpenSecrets Blog, January 6, 2016

Year after year, OpenSecrets.org data shows that Congress is a millionaire’s club. That’s true even though members make “only” $174,000 a year, largely because many of them are wealthy before they’re elected. In fact, salary isn’t the top source of income for a large group of these lawmakers: Their pay is outstripped by the interest and capital gains they collect on their bank accounts, mutual funds and other financial holdings….. Interested in how much your own member of Congress made from his or her money? Explore the data here. All numbers are minimums, because congressional financial disclosure forms require lawmakers to report their assets and liabilities in ranges rather than exact amounts. The actual totals may be larger…..

The Current State of Equal Pay Laws

Source: Katherine McAnallen, Legisbrief, Vol. 23 no. 40, October 2015

The subject of wage inequality between the sexes remains a contentious topic, although it has been more than 50 years since the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act were passed. Although the wage disparity has decreased since the late 1970s, it reflects the long road to realizing equal pay in the workplace.

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation – September 2015

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release, USDL-15-2329, December 9, 2015

Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $33.37 per hour worked in September 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $22.88 per hour worked and accounted for 68.6 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.48 and accounted for the remaining 31.4 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $31.53 per hour worked in September 2015. Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey, measures employer costs for wages and salaries, and employee benefits for nonfarm private and state and local government workers.

Compensation costs in state and local government

State and local government employers spent an average of $44.66 per hour worked for employee compensation in September 2015. Wages and salaries averaged $28.45 per hour and accounted for 63.7 percent of compensation costs, while benefits averaged $16.21 per hour worked and accounted for the remaining 36.3 percent. Total compensation costs for management, professional, and related workers averaged $54.02 per hour worked. This major occupational group includes teachers, averaging $60.92 per hour worked. Total compensation for sales and office workers averaged $30.83 per hour worked and service workers averaged $34.02. (See chart 1 and table 4.)

For state and local government employees, employer costs for insurance benefits averaged $5.34 per hour, or 12.0 percent of total compensation. The largest component of insurance costs in September 2015 was health insurance, which averaged $5.20, or 11.6 percent of total compensation. (See chart 2 and table 3.)

In September 2015, the average cost for retirement and savings benefits was $4.63 per hour worked in state and local government, or 10.4 percent of total compensation. Included in this amount were employer costs for defined benefit plans, which averaged $4.26 per hour (9.5 percent of total compensation), and defined contribution plans, which averaged 37 cents (0.8 percent). (See chart 2 and table 3.) Defined benefit plans specify a formula for determining future benefits, while defined contribution plans specify employer contributions but do not guarantee the amount of future benefits. Two components of benefit costs are paid leave and legally required benefits. Paid leave benefit costs include vacation, holiday, sick leave, and personal leave. The average cost for paid leave was $3.24 per hour worked for state and local government employees. Costs for legally required benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance (both state and federal), and workers’ compensation, averaged $2.63 per hour worked. (See table 3.)….

How CBO Estimates the Effects of the Affordable Care Act on the Labor Market

Source: Edward Harris, Shannon Mok, Congressional Budget Office, Working Paper Series, Working Paper 2015-09, December 2015

From the abstract:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will make the labor supply, measured as the total compensation paid to workers, 0.86 percent smaller in 2025 than it would have been in the absence of that law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates. Three quarters of that decline will occur because of health insurance expansions, which raise effective tax rates on earnings from labor—for instance, by phasing out health insurance subsidies as people’s income rises—and thus reduce the amount of labor that workers choose to supply. The labor force is projected to be about 2 million full-time-equivalent workers smaller in 2025 under the ACA than it would have been otherwise. Those estimates were based mainly on CBO’s calculations of the effects of the law’s major components on marginal and average tax rates and on the agency’sanalysis of research about the change in the labor supply resulting from a change in tax rates. For components of the law that were difficult to express in terms of changes in tax rates, CBO based its estimates on a review of the available literature about similar policy changes.

Turnover among Community Mental Health Workers in Ohio

Source: Ashley M. Bukach, Farida K. Ejaz, Nicole Dawson, Robert J. Gitter, Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, First online: 11 December 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This study examined turnover of community mental health workers in 42 randomly selected mental health agencies in Ohio. The turnover rate in 2011 was 26 %. A regression analysis indicated that agencies with lower turnover offered higher maximum pay and were smaller in size, while those offering career advancement opportunities, such as career ladder programs, had higher turnover. The findings suggest that improving wages for workers is likely to reduce turnover. It is also possible that smaller agencies have lower turnover due to stronger relationships with workers and/or more successful hiring practices. Furthermore, turnover that occurs as a result of career advancement could have positive effects and should be examined separate from other types of turnover in the future.

Benefits, retirement and savings make up larger percentage of government employee compensation

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Economics Daily, December 16, 2015

Over the last 10 years, state and local government employer costs for employee benefits have increased as a share of total compensation. This can be mostly attributed to increases in retirement and savings, specifically defined benefit plans. Retirement and savings as a share of total compensation increased from 6.6 percent in March 2005 to 10.4 percent in September 2015.

Walking the Line: Navigating Market and Gift Economies of Care in a Consumer-Directed Home-Based Care Program for Older Adults

Source: Jacqueline M. Torres, Kathryn G. Kietzman, and Steven P. Wallace, Milbank Quarterly, Vol. 93, No. 4, December 2015

From the abstract:
Paid caregivers of low-income older adults navigate their role at what Hochschild calls the “market frontier”: the fuzzy line between the “world of the market,” in which services are exchanged for monetary compensation, and the “world of the gift,” in which caregiving is uncompensated and motivated by emotional attachment. We examine how political and economic forces, including the reduction of long-term services and supports, shape the practice of “walking the line” among caregivers of older adults.
Findings: Related and nonrelated caregivers are often expected to “gift” hours of care above and beyond what is compensated by formal services. Cuts in formal services and lapses in pay push caregivers to further “walk the line” between market and gift economies of care. Both related and nonrelated caregivers who choose to stay on and provide more care without pay often face adverse economic and health consequences. Some, including related caregivers, opt out of caregiving altogether. While some consumers expect that caregivers would be willing to “walk the line” in order to meet their needs, most expressed sympathy for them and tried to alter their schedules or go without care in order to limit the caregivers’ burden.
Conclusions: Given economic and health constraints, caregivers cannot always compensate for cuts in formal supports by providing uncompensated time and resources. Similarly, low-income older adults are not competitive in the caregiving marketplace and, given the inadequacy of compensated hours, often depend on unpaid care. Policies that restrict formal long-term services and supports thus leave the needs of both caregivers and consumers unmet.

Nursing Home Jobs That Pay

Source: Stephen Herzenberg, Keystone Research Center, November 2015

From the press release:
Despite generating $407 million in profit in 2014, up from $370 million the year before, Pennsylvania’s nursing home industry employs nearly 15,000 workers who must rely on public assistance to make ends meet, a new study by the Keystone Research Center found. This number represents nearly one in six nursing home workers. Fifty-two percent of Pennsylvania nursing home workers surveyed said they cannot support their families on the wages they earn.

Nursing Home Jobs That Pay, released today, updates an earlier KRC report from April on the industry and reveals the full extent of public subsidy – estimated to cost taxpayers $118 million a year – that nursing homes receive because their low-wage employees must depend on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Medicaid, or both. The report finds that raising nursing home starting wages to $15 per hour would put more than $300 million in the family budgets of low-wage workers and estimates how much of this income increase, as well as the boost in state and local tax revenue, would go to each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
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