NU Online News Service, Oct. 3, 2003, 4:24 p.m. EST – Only 18% of U.S. employers expect employees to pay a greater share of benefits costs in 2004, according to survey results released by Watson Wyatt & Company, Washington.

A year ago, 56% of the employers were expecting employees to pay a greater share in 2003 than in 2002.

Six percent of the 358 employers that participated in the survey said they plan to reduce employee benefits, down from 12% that were planning to do so a year ago.

In other survey results:

- Many employers said they will be less likely than they have been over the past two years to lay off employees, cut pay raises or cut bonuses.

- Forty-one percent of the employers have reduced the number of employees eligible to participate in long-term incentive plans.