Do Americans Have Access To Benefits In 2023?

By Jack Flynn
Oct. 18, 2022

Yes, most Americans have access to benefits, though access is less common for part-time, low-income, private-sector employees. Overall, 54.3% of Americans have access to healthcare through their employer. The most common benefits provided to Americans include: retirement, life insurance, healthcare, and paid leave.

Other factors, such as whether an employee is full-time or part-time, the level of income, geographic region, and the size of the company, can also impact access to benefits.

To find out more, we’ve gathered data on the most common benefits Americans have access to in the private and public sectors. According to our extensive research:

  • 69% of workers in the private sector have access to retirement benefits, as opposed to 92% in the public sector.

  • 70% of workers in the private sector have access to healthcare benefits, as opposed to 89% in the public sector.

  • 81% of full-time employees have access to retirement benefits compared to only 43% of part-time employees.

  • 90% of employees who work at companies with 500+ employees have access to healthcare benefits compared to only 55% of those at companies with between one to 49 employees.

  • 90% of employees in the West have access to paid sick leave compared to only 71% of employees in the South.

  • Only 41% of those with an income in the bottom 25% have access to healthcare benefits compared to only 95% of employees in the top 25%.

Average Access To Benefits By Sector

Type of benefit Private industry State and local government
Retirement 69% 92%
Life insurance 57% 83%
Healthcare 70% 89%
Paid sick leave 77% 92%
Paid vacation 79% 61%
Paid holidays 81% 68%

Full-Time and Part-Time Access To Benefits By Industry

Type of benefit Full-Time Part-Time
Retirement 81% 43%
Life insurance 74% 16%
Healthcare 88% 23%
Paid sick leave 88% 51%
Paid vacation 88% 40%
Paid holidays 89% 49%

Average Access To Benefits By Company Size

Type of benefit 1-49 Employees 50-99 Employees 100-499 Employees 500+ Employees
Retirement 54% 72% 83% 91%
Life insurance 38% 62% 72% 84%
Healthcare 55% 75% 84% 90%
Paid sick leave 70% 79% 84% 91%
Paid vacation 70% 75% 83% 83%
Paid holidays 72% 76% 85% 86%

Average Access To Benefits By Region

Type of benefit Northeast South Midwest West
Retirement 71% 72% 74% 71%
Life insurance 58% 60% 63% 60%
Healthcare 71% 72% 73% 75%
Paid sick leave 83% 71% 74% 90%
Paid vacation 74% 78% 77% 78%
Paid holidays 77% 80% 79% 80%

Average Access To Benefits By Income

Type of benefit Bottom 25% Top 25%
Retirement 48% 92%
Life insurance 28% 86%
Healthcare 41% 95%
Paid sick leave 57% 94%
Paid vacation 56% 82%
Paid holidays 60% 85%

Access To Benefits FAQ

  1. How many Americans get their health insurance through their employer?

    155 million Americans get their health insurance through their employer. However, access can vary greatly depending on the region, type of work, and income.

    For example, up to 95% of the most wealthy in the US (top 25%) have access to healthcare benefits, while that number is only 41% for the bottom 25%. Similarly, only 23% of part-time employees have access, compared to 88% of full-time employees.

    When in doubt, it’s vital to read job descriptions and ask questions during a job interview so you can know for certain whether or not a position offers healthcare benefits.

  2. Why is US health care tied to employment?

    US healthcare is tied to employment because it acts as a crucial incentive. More specifically, during WWII, the US experienced an intense labor shortage due to the number of workers drafted into the war. Therefore, to encourage young women to enter the workforce, employers began sponsoring healthcare packages.

    While this tactic was effective at the time, 63% of US adults now say the government should be responsible for providing health care coverage for all. With that in mind, employer-sponsored healthcare may continue to lose interest in favor of a public healthcare system.

  3. What are the four mandatory benefits for an employee?

    The four mandatory benefits for employees in the US are paid annual leave, parental leave, worker’s compensation insurance, and paid sick leave. However, these benefits are typically only mandatory for full-time employees, not part-time.

    Additionally, the amount of paid leave a company decides to provide is largely decided by that company, meaning that the average sick leave or parental leave offered to employees can vary greatly from employer to employer.

  4. Does federal law require employers to offer retirement plans?

    No, federal law does not require any employer to establish a retirement plan. Though, employers that do offer retirement plans are required to meet minimum standards set by the law. Some examples of these ERISA rules include:

    • Part-time employees who work 1,000 hours or more annually must be credited with a portion of the benefit in proportion to a full-time employee

    • Employees must be provided with plan information, such as information about plan features and funding

    • Plans cannot exclude employees based on age or any other demographic.

    Overall, many employers still choose to offer retirement plans, even though they’re not required to, as they hope to compete with other companies for the best employees.


Though exceptionally common in the US, access to employer-sponsored benefits is largely dependent on the type of benefit and the employee’s circumstance. For example, while 88% of full-time employees have access to healthcare benefits through their employer, only 23% of part-time employees can say the same.

Overall, full-time, wealthy, public sector employees are far more likely to have benefits than part-time, low-income, private sector employees.

And, if access to benefits is crucial for you, it’s vital that you thoroughly read job descriptions and ask the hiring manager questions about coverage during your interview.


  1. BLS – Employee Benefits in the United States

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Jack Flynn

Jack Flynn is a writer for Zippia. In his professional career he’s written over 100 research papers, articles and blog posts. Some of his most popular published works include his writing about economic terms and research into job classifications. Jack received his BS from Hampshire College.

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