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Cypen & Cypen
MAY 29, 2008

Stephen H. Cypen, Esq., Editor


Eighty-nine percent of workers in state and local government had access to employer-sponsored retirement benefits in 2007. Almost three times as many workers had access to defined benefit plans (83%) than to defined contribution plans (29%). Nearly all workers (96%) who had access to a defined benefit retirement plan chose to participate in it, whereas only 63% of workers with access to a defined contribution plan chose to enroll. Eighty-seven percent of workers had access to medical care plans, a percentage greater than access to dental care (55%) and to vision care (38%). These findings are from the Summary, “National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in State and local government, September 2007.” The data are from the National Compensation Survey, which provides comprehensive measures of occupational earnings, compensation cost trends and details of benefit provisions. In addition to health and retirement plans, the survey also covered paid leave, disability insurance and other selected benefits. This summary is the first release of data on benefits in state and local governments since 1998. Here are some other major findings:

  • State and local government employees enjoyed a broad access to a wide variety of benefits at their workplace, including retirement and medical care benefits, available to a vast majority of employees, 89% and 87%, respectively. By comparison, only 61% of employees in private industry had access to retirement benefits of at least one type; 71% had access to medical care coverage in March 2007.
  • The greatest factor affecting availability of benefits in state and local government was full- versus part-time status: access to almost all benefits was much higher for full-time than part-time employees, up to four times higher for some benefits.
  • Several other benefits were offered to workers in state and local government. Work-related educational assistance benefits were offered to about two-thirds of all workers. Employee assistance programs were available to almost three-quarters of all employees; about six out of ten workers had access to health care reimbursement accounts, and about half to dependent care reimbursement accounts and to wellness programs.

The Summary Report is available through the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’, internet site,


Astute readers will notice this Newsletter is quite abbreviated. Well, with the holiday-shortened week, your editor had too much on his plate. Besides, today is your editor’s birthday. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me ...?”


He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.


Cypen’s Rule: “When it comes to foreign food, the less authentic the better.” (Actually, the quote is from Gerald Nachman, and is his rule. However, the quote fit your editor so perfectly we just had to “lift” it.)

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Items in this Newsletter may be excerpts or summaries of original or secondary source material, and may have been reorganized for clarity and brevity. This Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended to provide specific legal or other advice.

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