Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

A Word about the Symposium on Benefits

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

A Word about the Symposium on Benefits

Article excerpt

Benefits--what some jurisdictions call "employee related expenses"--were once considered an important and necessary "extra" provided to government employees when public sector wages were lower than those in the private sector. Today, with the public-private wage differential diminishing, disappearing or even being reversed, and with the cost of benefits rapidly rising, the place of benefits in the total compensation package is being more closely scrutinized.

In the three articles that relate to the benefits symposium in this issue, several key benefits topics are discussed. Authors Kenneth J. McDonnell and Dallas Salisbury examine benefit cost comparisons. As they note, the salary differentials, where government employees appear to be better paid than those in the private sector, may be explained in part or whole by the nature of public service jobs and the way in which the Bureau of Labor Statistics decides to classify them. Not mentioned is that lower paid jobs in government are now frequently outsourced and that employees in government may in fact be serving as quasi supervisors, providing oversight of those contracts.

The disparity in benefit costs is more interesting, and more revealing about the nature of employment in the U.S. today. It is a topic that should continue to be closely monitored. Most government employers provide health insurance and a financially sound retirement system, and employees generally are required to participate in both of these. Discussions of a national health insurance plan often reflect what many states now provide to their employees. In an era of a compressed workforce and increasing competition for good workers, and where health and retirement plans in the private sector are threatened, even bankrupt, benefits may be the factor that attracts and keeps employees. These benefits should be considered a public sector advantage instead of a burden. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.