Advertiser Disclosure

Editorial Note: Blueprint may earn a commission from affiliate partner links featured here on our site. This commission does not influence our editors' opinions or evaluations. Please view our full advertiser disclosure policy.

Employees across the United States and the world have seen a significant evolution in the workplace landscape, a wave that started during the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued influencing employee benefits in 2024. Benefits and perks are key factors in employee attraction, retention and engagement, and it is vital for your company and HR team to understand which are most valued and have the most impact on employees’ livelihoods. 

In fact, according to a Maven study, 57% of employers globally regard offering comparable benefits across all countries as a high priority.1 Additionally, the post-pandemic focus on mental and physical well-being is showing, with 64% of employers in one study planning to enhance the benefits they offer this year.2 Continue reading for more on employee benefits statistics in 2024. 

Key employee benefit statistics

We’ve researched several reputable and trustworthy sources to find these key employee benefits statistics:

  • There is a significant gap between the availability of health benefits and the quality of those offered: While 94% of firms with 50 or more employees offered health benefits in 2023,4 only 56% of employees trust their employer to get the best quality healthcare available.1
  • Paid sick leave is available to the majority of workers, but not paid family leave: Most civilians (80%), private industry workers (78%) and state and local government workers (92%) have access to paid sick leave, according to data from 2023.11 However, paid family leave is less widespread, with only 23% of union workers and 27% of non-union workers in private industries offering it as of September 2023.12
  • Paid leave is mostly increasing and becoming more inclusive for childcare: On average, more workplaces provided childcare-related leave in 2023 than in the previous year, with 75% now offering paid parental care versus 70% in 2022. 70% offered paid adoption leave (versus 53% in 2022) and 46% offered paid foster care leave (versus 33% in 2022).2
  • Flexible work is another post-COVID trend, albeit not as widely available: There is still limited flexibility in the U.S. workplace, with only 12% of full-time workers in private industries having access to a flexible workplace and 17% having access to a flexible work schedule as of September 2023.12
  • Benefits are a key factor in attracting and retaining talent amid healthcare costs: With a significant 79% of U.S. employees expressing concern about the rising cost of healthcare, it’s little wonder that more than half of U.S. workers (57%) have taken or might take a new job if offered better family reproductive benefits.1 

Most common employee benefits

According to figures from the Pew Research Center, just over four in five employed workers have paid time off (PTO) for vacations, doctor’s visits and minor illnesses, making it the most common employee benefit.5 It was followed by:

  • Employer-sponsored health insurance (79%). 
  • Employer-sponsored 401(k) or other retirement program (77%).
  • Paid parental, family or medical leave (57%).

However, there was some variation when distinguishing between lower, middle and upper-income workers. Across the board, lower-income workers were less likely to have access to the basic employee benefits named above.5 For example, while 92% of upper-income and 82% of middle-income workers had access to employer-sponsored health insurance, only 60% of lower-income workers did.5

The same was true with all other types of basic employee benefits, showing a significant vulnerability among lower-income workers. There’s no question how valuable these benefits can be. Without fundamentals such as paid time off for doctor’s visits and illnesses as well as health insurance, many Americans face sky-high medical bills and debts or potentially severe medical conditions left improperly treated.

62% of workers said paid time off for vacations, doctor’s visits and minor illnesses is extremely important, while just over 50% of employees say the same for employer-sponsored health insurance.5 

Average PTO days in the U.S.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics research shows that the average PTO in the U.S. for private industry workers is only around seven days of sick leave per year, regardless of how long they’ve been in service with their employer.13 The story is similar but slightly improved for state and local government employees, who generally have 12 days of sick leave after five or more years of service but 11 after just one year of service.13

Contrastingly, the number of vacation days always rises the longer you’ve been at a company, but state and local government employees still see more time off on average. After a year of service, private industry employees can expect 11 days of paid vacation, compared to 13 for state and local government employees. This rises to: 

  • 15 days (private industry employees) and 16 days (state and local government employees) after five years. 
  • 18 days (private) and 19 days (state and local government) after 10 years. 
  • 20 days (private) and 22 days (state and local government) after 20 years.13

It takes time for Americans to reach the number of PTO days that match what they need or want. According to 2023 figures from GoCity, the ideal number of PTO days is 28 days. Accordingly, 86% of Americans wished they had more time off than they currently do.6 Just under a third of workers plan their PTO days out at the start of the year, but fewer than half used their entire allocated days off in 2022.6

The same report suggested that while one in four employees would like an unlimited time off policy, only around 8% of workers currently have one.6 

Unlimited PTO statistics

Analysis from Mercer shows that just over a quarter of employers offer unlimited PTO to at least a portion of their employees, although only 6% offer it to all.2 However, despite the apparent reluctance of many employers to offer such a model, the majority (72%) who did offer it in 2021 reported that employees took the same amount of time off as under their prior “accrued” policy.2 

Responses to unlimited time off policies are overwhelmingly positive, with 88% of respondents in a Glassdoor survey speaking favorably about them.7 Bloomberg research shows that around 39% of workers would take between 21 and 30 days off if they had unlimited vacation time, more than any other group.9 However, fewer than a fifth of respondents believe that unlimited time off policies will gain the most traction going forward.10

Paid sick leave

Research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2023 shows that 86% of union workers in private industry had access to paid sick leave, compared to 77% of non-union workers.12 In total, 78% of private industry workers have paid sick leave available, fewer than civilians (80% of which have access to paid sick leave) and state and local government employees (92%).11

Only 16 locations in the U.S. mandate paid leave for serious health conditions or disabilities.3 These include: 

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C. 

Paid family leave

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data also shows that paid family leave was only available to around 27% of private industry workers — 23% of those in a union and 27% of non-union employees.12 This was roughly the same for civilian workers (27%) and state and local government employees (28%).12

Mercer figures suggest that parental leave policies are becoming more popular and are broadening to be more inclusive. The number of employers offering paid parental leave grew to 75% in 2023 (including those planning for 2024), while 70% also offer paid adoption leave (compared to 53% in 2022 and planning for 2023).2 

46% of employers offered paid foster child leave compared to 33% in the previous year. However, the number of employers offering paid surrogacy leave actually fell from 27% to 25%.

The majority of employers with over 500 employees (54%) plan to offer no childcare benefits in 2024, according to Mercer’s data.2 39% of employers with over 5,000 employees either do or will plan to offer childcare referral/consultations, while 37% will offer access to backup childcare services. 40% of these employers will offer no childcare benefits or resources.

Family planning benefits

Many employees highly value benefits associated with family planning, with 57% of respondents in a Maven study saying they have taken or might take a new job for improved reproductive and family benefits.1 Research from Mercer shows that employers are responding to this — 46% of employers in its study will offer benefits that cover high-risk pregnancy, lactation, preconception family planning, postpartum care, pregnancy loss and menopause.2

Additionally, Maven’s statistics show that 62% of companies offer paid parental leave beyond statutory minimums, while 50% offer maternity support during pregnancy and postpartum. Less than a quarter offer benefits to cover menopause support, while 39% offer childcare support.1

Flexible work statistics

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing months of remote/hybrid working, flexible office and home setups are an example of a long-lasting lockdown legacy. However, numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that fewer than one-fifth of full-time workers in private industries had a flexible work setup, and this was even fewer for part-time workers.12 

In fact, only 2% of part-time workers had access to any kind of flexible workplace.12 This is supported by research from Maven that shows 91% of respondents to its survey have to work in-person at least some of the time.1 

Employee health benefits statistics

Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows that the vast majority of firms with 50 or more employees offered health benefits in 2023 and have done so for the last decade.4 Just under four in five employees at firms that offer coverage are eligible, and among these employees, 75% take out this coverage.4 However, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data highlights inequalities between full-time and part-time workers as well as unionized and non-unionized workers.

Out of all private industry workers, 87% of full-time workers had access to medical care benefits compared to 25% of part-time workers, and 96% of union workers had access compared to 69% of non-union workers.12 Out of unionized workers in private industries, employers paid 80% of premiums for single coverage plans and 79% for family coverage plans, compared to 78% and 65%, respectively, for non-union workers.12

Census Bureau data shows that between 2021 and 2022, the number of people who had health insurance for at least some of the year grew from 91.7% to 92.1% — and the majority had private coverage (65.6%) rather than public (36.1%).14 Most people who had health insurance also got it through their employers (54.5%), while Medicaid (18.8%) and Medicare (18.7%) were the second and third-most common sources of coverage.14

Retirement plan and pension statistics

The overwhelming majority of unionized workers in private industries in the U.S. had access to retirement benefits (94%), while comparatively fewer non-unionized workers (68%) enjoyed the same in 2023. 

Private industry workers, in general, had the most access to defined contribution retirement plans in 2023 (76%), while only 63% of civilian workers and 39% of state and local government workers did.

Life insurance

Out of private industry workers, more unionized employees had access to life insurance plans (86% compared to 55%), short-term disability plans (73% versus 41%) and long-term disability plans (44% versus 35%) than non-unionized workers.12 

However, research from Guardian shows that over half of employers that offer life insurance only provide group coverage equal to or less than the employee’s salary, while only 2% offer more than twice the employee’s salary’s worth in coverage.8

How benefits affect employee retention

Business owners need to consider how benefits can affect employee retention and satisfaction. Three-quarters of employers reference reproductive and family benefits as important or very important in this regard, according to Maven’s survey.1 

Additionally, more than a third of white-collar workers responded to our remote work survey to say they’d look for a new job if their current employer stopped offering remote work. To further indicate the importance of healthcare benefits, almost four in five U.S.-based employees are concerned or very concerned about the rising cost of healthcare, according to Maven’s study.1

Employee benefits trends and statistics wrap up

Our research of reputable sources, like the U.S. Census Bureau and Bloomberg, showed many trends and data surrounding employee benefits. We found that there is a significant gap between the health benefits that are available and the quality of benefits that are available.

Here are a few more selected trends in employee benefits to look out for in 2024:

  • Wellness: Almost two-thirds of employers plan to enhance their health and wellbeing benefits in 2024. 63% of state and local government employees had access to wellness programs, more than civilian employees (46%) and private industry employees (43%).
  • Pawternity: Despite some fanfare in the press, only 3% of major employers offer “pawternity” paid time off policies, although this climbs to 7% when looking at large service industry employers.2
  • Juneteenth: Only 9% of respondents to Mercer’s 2021 Absence and Disability Management Survey offered Juneteenth as a paid holiday, but since it was declared a federal holiday, that has risen to 39%.
  • Behavioral healthcare: While 69% of employers have enhanced or expanded their employee assistance programs, 84% of them said it had been effective.2 Only 19% took steps to increase screenings for mental health and/or substance abuse, although 91% of those said it had been effective.2 The most effective action taken, proportionally speaking, was adding a supplemental network for virtual or in-person care, with 69% saying it had been effective or very effective.2
  • Virtual care: A Mercer survey revealed that around half of employers are actively working to expand the use of virtual care, with 38% saying they rely on their medical plans for this.2

We also found that paid sick leave is available to the majority of workers. However, paid family leave is not, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While 78% of private industry workers have access to paid sick leave, only around 23% of union workers and 27% of non-union workers have access to paid family leave in private industries.11

Paid leave is, however, becoming more popular. On average, more workplaces had childcare-related leave in 2023 than in 2022, with 75% now offering paid parental leave.2 70% also offered paid adoption leave, while 46% offered paid foster care leave.2

Lastly, flexible work, like remote work, is available but not widely available. Only 12% of full-time workers in private industries have access to a flexible workplace, with 17% having access to a flexible work schedule as of 2023.12 

Overall, it is clear that quality benefits are a key factor in attracting talent and retaining employees. In a Maven study, 79% of U.S. employees expressed concern about rising healthcare costs. More than half of those same workers said they had taken a new job or might take a new job for better family reproductive benefits.1


  1. Maven - Maven’s State of Women’s & Family Health Benefits.
  2. Mercer - Health & Benefit Strategies for 2024 Survey Report.
  3. Mercer - 2024 state paid family and medical leave contributions and benefits.
  4. Kaiser Family Foundation - 2023 Employer Health Benefits Survey.
  5. Pew Research Center - How Americans View Their Jobs.
  6. Go City - Workcations in 2023: How Americans Are Using Their Vacation Time.
  7. Glassdoor - Why your company’s unlimited PTO isn’t working (and how to fix it).
  8. Guardian - Prepared and Protected.
  9. Bloomberg - Work Shift: Here’s How to Take Advantage of Unlimited PTO.
  10. Bloomberg - Companies That Offer Unlimited Vacations Will Outperform S&P 500, Investors Say.
  11. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Employee Benefits: EBS Latest Numbers.
  12. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Employee Benefits in the United States Summary.
  13. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Paid leave benefits: Average number of sick and vacation days by length of service requirement.
  14. U.S. Census Bureau - Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2022

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy. The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Mehdi is a writer and editor with many years of personal finance expertise under his belt. He's a spirited money-saver, with a passion for making personal finance accessible and manageable. When he isn't writing, Mehdi likes to read about history and travel, hike along coastlines and in forests, and watch his beloved team Manchester United underperform.

Sierra Campbell is a small business editor for USA Today Blueprint. She specializes in writing, editing and fact-checking content centered around helping businesses. She has worked as a digital content and show producer for several local TV stations, an editor for U.S. News & World Report and a freelance writer and editor for many companies. Sierra prides herself in delivering accurate and up-to-date information to readers. Her expertise includes credit card processing companies, e-commerce platforms, payroll software, accounting software and virtual private networks (VPNs). She also owns Editing by Sierra, where she offers editing services to writers of all backgrounds, including self-published and traditionally published authors.