WASHINGTON - A new report released by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), calledCost of Employee Benefits in Small and Large Businesses, details employee benefit costs by company size. The report specifically looks at the cost of health insurance, pension plans, paid vacation, and sick leave.

The report finds that the offering of benefits and their associated costs can vary dramatically with business size. For instance, the latest data show that the per-participant administrative costs of defined-contribution pension plans - such as 401(k) plans - are as much as 14 times more for the smallest firms than for their largest counterparts.

The report notes that both small and large businesses are providing benefits to their employees at a declining rate. For instance, companies of all sizes have reduced the availability of health insurance to their employees due to the increasing cost associated with benefits in recent years. However, small companies have experienced a faster increase in health insurance premiums than large companies did during the period from the mid-1990s through 2002.

Also, access to retirement benefits is more prevalent among large firms than among small firms.

The study was prepared by Joel Popkin and Company with funding from the Office of Advocacy. For more information and a complete copy of the report, visit the Office of Advocacy Web site at www.sba.gov/advo.

Publication date: 09/05/2005