Employee Benefit Packages in the Swine Industry
Benefit packages and working conditions are important to employees in the swine industry, just as is the salary level. Employees indicated that there are trade-offs between salary levels and the benefit packages and working conditions. For example, they indicated that incentive plans, on average, were equivalent to about $3,873 in salary to employees (Table 1). They also indicated that the provision of insurance as part of the employment conditions was important. The trade-off was that $1.00 of insurance premium was equivalent to about $2.59 in salary. While this level of trade-off was higher than expected, it does indicate that workers do value both salary and benefits and trade one for the other in evaluating compensation offers. There are two possible reasons for the high level of trade-off, one being the tax benefits of insurance premiums which are provided by the employer, and the second being that the employer may be able to obtain benefit packages in group policies such as major medical, dental, etc., at a lower rate than what the individual employee could receive on a single or family policy.
Employee working conditions in the facilities were found to be important and significant. The value of working in a facility that had excellent environmental conditions in terms of dust and gases was worth about $10,000 over that of working in a facility that was ranked as good. The value of working in a good versus a fair rated facility was $7,900. Again, here, the values seem to be inflated, but the bottom line is that employees value working in facilities that have better environments and are willing to accept lower salaries in order to work in safer environments. Employees also indicated that the mere presence or availability of masks or respirators to wear in the production facility had a positive benefit.