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Survey shows contractors cutting benefits

When it comes to employees, the New York State construction industry is cutting costs by reducing benefits, a new survey by Bonadio & Co. LLP shows.

Based on input from construction, mechanical, heavy highway and specialty contracting companies statewide—excluding the New York City metro area and Long Island—the Contractor’s Compensation & Benefits Study showed bosses were making cuts in holiday bonuses, stock ownership and 401(k) contributions.

Of the large-scale companies surveyed, defined as those with more than $50 million in revenues, only one in three said they are allowing paid time off for vacation, sick days and personal days.

“Construction companies across the state are buckling down and making appropriate cost cuts due to the poor economic condition,” said Scott Cresswell, a member of The Bonadio Group’s construction team. 

Of the 100 or so total companies surveyed, 85.5 percent are using preferred provider organizations or health maintenance organization to manage health care costs.

Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents said they saw costs for healthcare plans rise, while 37 percent said they remained the same.

To control health care, the most prevalent strategy being used by survey respondents is to redesign the health plan. Six percent said they will ask employees to increase their contribution and about 10 percent said they were going to require employees to do more cost sharing.

Relative to health care costs, large firms said they cover roughly 75 percent of the premium for single coverage, 55 percent for employee plus 1 coverage, and 56 percent for family coverage.

In terms of headcount, Bonadio’s study showed that 14.7 percent of survey respondents plan to add employees, while 19.1 percent said they will shed some. Approximately 66 percent anticipated no change in employment.

Those firms that plan to raise wages this year, plan to do so within a range of 1 percent to 3 percent, the survey showed.

(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to reprint this article.


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