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Employee Benefits Survey
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The National Compensation Survey (NCS) provides comprehensive measures of compensation cost trends and the coverage, costs, and provisions of employer-sponsored benefits in the United States. This bulletin presents 2019 estimates of the detailed benefit provisions of retirement plans in private industry by worker and establishment characteristics.
Retirement benefits detailed provisions include:

  • Defined benefit plans: availability and eligibility requirements for open plans, benefit features, primary formulas, vesting requirements, and integration with social security;
    • Cash balance plans: employer contributions;
    • Traditional defined benefit plans: normal retirement age and service requirements, terminal earnings, and early retirement availability and requirements.
  • Defined contribution plans: type of plan and plan sponsor;
    • Deferred profit-sharing plans: benefit features, method of employee contribution, and methods of benefit distribution;
    • Money purchase pension plans: methods of contribution, methods of distribution, employee contribution thresholds for employer matching;
    • Savings and thrift plans: summary of provisions, methods of benefit distribution, eligibility requirements, maximum employee contributions, methods of employer matching, automatic enrollment, vesting requirements, investment choices, and automatic escalation features.

Estimates are also accessible in an Excel format and through the database. Estimates for prior years and other benefits publications are available from the National Compensation Survey – Benefits homepage.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) staff designed the survey, collected and reviewed the survey data, and prepared survey estimates for publication. The survey could not have been conducted without the cooperation of the many private establishments that provided benefits data. BLS thanks these respondents for their cooperation. The benefits website also publishes information for respondents. For information about the survey design, concepts, and product calculations see the Handbook of Methods: National Compensation Measures.

For more information on benefit estimates, contact the National Compensation Survey staff by:
Email: Online form
Telephone: (202) 691-6199 (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time)
Services for individuals with a sensory impairment:
Information voice phone: (202) 691-5200 The Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339

Write or personal visit:
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Employer-Sponsored Benefits
2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E. - Suite 4160
Washington, D.C. 20212-0001

The contents of this publication are in the public domain and, with appropriate citation, may be reproduced without permission.


Last Modified Date: April 16, 2020