Business: The Fringe on Top

Time was when a payroll amounted to no more than what a company paid its workers at the end of the week. Today, what with pensions, social security, insurance premiums and a host of other fringe benefits, there is a big payroll cost piled on top of the wages themselves.

Just how big it is was reported last week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which studied 1953 fringe payments by 529 firms (each with 500 or more employees).

From its sample the chamber put the total cost of fringe benefits for all U.S. companies at nearly $25 billion a year.

Average cost...

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