Public versus private
By Richard Cebula, Ph.D.
This study examines the differentials in the levels of fringe benefits provided to full-time workers between the public and private sectors in the state of Wisconsin. In addition, this study examines the value of tenure or its equivalent in the Wisconsin public school system at the primary and secondary levels.
The study focuses on several specific categories of fringe benefits and examines the fringe benefit as a percentage of income. Specifically, the analysis deals with the following:
- paid time off;
- individual retirement and savings plans;
- pension plans;
- life insurance and death benefits;
- medical and medically related benefits;
- hospital, surgical, and medical premiums;
- short-term disability, sickness, or accident insurance;
- long-term disability or wage-continuation insurance;
- other medical insurance;
- education/tuition reimbursement; and,
- total fringe benefits combined.
The overall findings include the following:
- pension-plan benefits, medical benefits, hospital, surgical, and medical premiums are much higher in the public sector than in the private sector; and,
- short-term disability, sickness or accident insurance benefits are higher in the private sector than in the public sector, as are the benefits for life insurance and death benefits, other medical insurance, long-term disability, and education/tuition reimbursement.
However, the overall fringe-benefit value appears to be 36% higher in the public sector than in the private sector.
Finally, the value of an additional benefit, tenure and its equivalent, for both elementary school and secondary school teachers was estimated. In the aggregate, tenure may be worth as much as $49 million annually to the elementary school teachers of Wisconsin and as much as $40 million annually to the secondary school teachers of Wisconsin.