In This Article Benefits

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Organizations
  • Journals
  • Overview
  • Paid Time Off

Management Benefits
by
Charles H. Fay
  • LAST REVIEWED: 19 October 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 July 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0018

Introduction

Employee benefits include a wide variety of noncash compensation programs provided by employers to employees. The major programs cover retirement, income protection, health care, and paid time off. In addition, benefits include a broad range of services. While there is a small literature on benefits in general, each of these benefit types has a distinct scholarly literature and a professional literature. The disciplines required to work in the benefits arena are predominantly economics, finance, and public policy, with lesser emphasis on tax law, communications, demographics, and organizational psychology. Employee benefits are very much determined by national law, culture, and tax policies. This review focuses on US employee benefits but also speaks to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other international programs where possible. Because the United States is the only major economic power where pensions and health care are employer-based rather than government-based, most of the pension and health-care literature relevant to management research has originated in the United States. Similarly, the focus here is on works that speak to management options. Thus, while public policy constrains management action, it is not a primary interest of this review. Finally, it is important that management researchers understand how employee benefit programs actually work, and professional journal articles providing this background are an important part of this review.

Textbooks

There are not many employee benefits textbooks. The field is broad and there are not many courses devoted entirely to employee benefits. Most students get their (sole) introduction to benefits from a class or two in compensation. Most compensation textbooks have only one or two chapters on employee benefits. There are a number of books covering just one area of employee benefits (e.g., health care) in depth. Some of the available books are written more for human resources (HR) professionals than for students, but they are still useful in the classroom. All cover the range of benefits but focus most heavily on retirement benefits and health-care benefits. Some offer more depth on corporate financing of benefits programs and others have a strong focus on federal and state laws and regulations applying to benefits programs. Representative texts include Martocchio 2013, Employee Benefit Research Institute 2009, and Kozak 2010.

  • Employee Benefit Research Institute. Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs. 6th ed. Washington, DC: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2009.

    E-mail Citation »

    The most complete and balanced of the benefits texts, this book, available online, combines a good combination of overview and detail without getting too complicated for students to understand. EBRI is the dominant benefits research group in the United States, and the book reflects this.

  • Kozak, Barry. Employee Benefit Plans. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2010.

    E-mail Citation »

    This book is typical of those published by benefits specialists primarily for HR professionals, and it goes into greater depth on legal, tax, and financing issues than most texts.

  • Martocchio, Joseph J. Employee Benefits: A Primer for Human Resource Professionals. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2013.

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    This is the only benefits textbook written by a recognized HR scholar, and it is organized in a way that reflects experience in classroom teaching. It is the only “traditional” textbook covering employee benefits.

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