Any nonwage payment or benefit granted to employees by employers. Examples include pension plans, profit-sharing programs, vacation pay, and company-paid life, health, and unemployment insurance. Employers' payments for fringe benefits are included in employee-compensation costs and therefore are not usually taxed. If the cost of fringe benefits were paid directly as wages, the worker would pay taxes on this amount and therefore have less to spend when purchasing equivalent benefits independently.
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In governmental planning and budgeting, the attempt to measure the social benefits of a proposed project in monetary terms and compare them with its costs. The procedure was first proposed in 1844 by Arsène-Jules-Étienne-Juvénal Dupuit (1804–66). It was not seriously applied until the 1936 U.S. Flood Control Act, which required that the benefits of flood-control projects exceed their costs. A cost-benefit ratio is determined by dividing the projected benefits of a program by the projected costs. A wide range of variables, including nonquantitative ones such as quality of life, are often considered because the value of the benefits may be indirect or projected far into the future.
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