Human Resources
Microhistory of Employee Benefits and Compensation, 1636-2015

Microhistory of Employee Benefits and Compensation, 1636-2015


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Did you know …

  • The first private-sector pension plan was developed as early as 1875 by the American Express Company?
  • Massachusetts passed the first minimum wage law in 1912?
  • Employee benefits have ballooned from less than 5% of employers’ costs for compensation in 1929 to over 30% in June of this year?
  • Starbucks was the first privately held company in the U.S. to offer a stock option program to all eligible full- and part-time employees?

This comprehensive timeline starts with the first pension law enacted by the Plymouth Colony in 1636 and tracks major events in the development of employee benefits and compensation in the U.S. since then. Covering over 350 years, the “Microhistory of Employee Benefits and Compensation” provides a bird’s-eye view of how various events and legislation have shaped compensation practices, pension and 401(k) plans, health plans, Social Security, Medicare, stock plans, family and medical leave policies, and other aspects of employment affecting workers today. Both federal and state milestones are included. While it is difficult to pinpoint exact dates in historical data for some of the earliest developments, the Microhistory can be a valuable tool to examine developments and trends in employee benefits and compensation in the U.S. over time. The document reflects developments through November 2015.

Download Microhistory of Employee Benefits and Compensation, 1636-2015