Fringe Benefits

Fringe Benefits


Important Information About Using Fringe Benefits Data

These data do not reflect actual coverage by a specific benefit, but rather a respondent's reported knowledge of whether his or her employer made such a benefit available. The 1991 and up questions on the availability of sick or vacation leave were designed to collect data on the number of days earned and appear within the survey following the regular employee benefit series.


Year(s) Universe
1980-1992 The employee benefit series was administered to those respondents who worked 20 hours or more a week at their current/most recent (CPS) job and who were not self-employed in an unincorporated business or enlisted in the military. 
1993 and up Respondents working more than 20 hours per week and not self-employed are asked the fringe benefit questions. Those working 20 hours or less per week at a regular job (not an odd job) are first asked if their employer makes any benefits available and if they answer yes, they are asked the fringe benefit questions. (Exception: For the 1993 survey year, the benefits questions were limited to the CPS job only; they were not asked for the non-CPS employers).

Availability of fringe benefits has been collected during each survey year except 1981. Respondents report on benefits received, including hospital and life insurance, paid vacation and sick days, dental benefits, maternity/paternity leave, retirement plans, profit sharing, training, childcare, and flexible work schedule hours. Questions on the availability of stock options were added in 2010. This information is taken from the Employer Supplement questions; additional information is available in the CPS section. Further information on work-related benefits can be found in the Pension Benefits & Pension Plans section of this guide.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: Data have been collected during each NLSY79 young adult survey on the availability of benefits provided by employers. Questions on benefits for the NLSY97 cohort are only asked of respondents who report an employee job lasting at least 13 weeks that ended after the date of their 16th birthday, or who are age 16 and over and report an on-going employee job at which they have worked at least 13 weeks. Information on benefits was collected for the Mature Women in 1977, 1982, 1987, 1989, and 1995-2003; for the Young Women in 1978 and 1983-2003; and for the Young Men in 1976 and 1981. The exact categories of benefits for which information was recorded may vary; generally, less information was collected in earlier years. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments and Documentation

The "Current Labor Force Status (CPS)" section of the NLSY79 questionnaires: Section 8 (1979), Section 7 (1980), Section 5 (1982-92), Section 6 (1993), and Section 7 Employer Supplement (1994-2018) contain the employer-related benefit series.

Areas of Interest Employee benefit variables can be found in "Job Information" and the yearly "Misc. xxxx" areas of interest.