NU Online News Service, Feb. 3, 4:33 p.m. – Employee benefits accounted for 39% of company payroll costs in 2001, up from 37.5% in 2000, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington reported today.

The chamber’s study of employee benefits at 400 companies found that medical and related benefits were the most costly and the most commonly offered.

The most common employee benefits offered were health insurance, paid vacation time, holiday pay, and retirement plans and life insurance, the chamber says.

Medical benefits accounted for 11% of total gross payroll costs. Paid time off followed closely as the second-largest benefits cost to employers, averaging just over 10% of payroll costs. This was followed by retirement and savings plan shares, which together accounted for an average of 8% of payroll.