Indirect costs related to employees beyond gross compensation or payroll costs is the burden rate. Essentially, overheads refer to ongoing expenses, including marketing costs, licenses and permits, office equipment, and so on. Importantly, overheads are not directly linked to the cost of production. The labor burden rate can help you understand how much an employee costs. The burden rate can help you decide if you can afford certain benefits.Now that you know more about the hidden variable that is burden rate, you are better equipped to make more informed business decisions. It is helpful for small businesses to calculate these numbers as burden costs can affect a company’s profitability.

As mentioned before, you will typically use burden rate to find the indirect costs of your labor force or inventory. These costs aren’t always apparent, which is why they’re the hidden costs of running a business. And, you should know how your indirect costs compare to your direct costs. Failure to consider them can put your construction business behind with each project you take up.

On top of that, they also pay for repair and maintenance expenses related to the production process. A computer spreadsheet best serves to calculate material burden rate. Your burden rate is 3.21, meaning you need to make at least $3.21 per product to cover the material expenses. Business is not just about breaking even, and in construction, a key way to ensure profit is by understanding your labor burden. A better understanding of labor burden positively influences your construction profit margin.

  • Because fixed costs are spread across all units manufactured, the unit fixed cost will decrease as more items are produced.
  • This will help determine how much an employee costs their employer per hour.
  • You also need to know the production total you want the burden rate for.
  • Your burden rate is 3.21, meaning you need to make at least $3.21 per product to cover the material expenses.
  • The burden rate is the rate companies allocate indirect costs to direct costs.

To arrive at labor burden rate per hour, divide your total annual cost by an employee’s annual working hours. Just take the sum of all the burden type costs and divide it by the total straight-time equivalent labor cost for the same period and, bang! If you start cutting your employees’ pay, you’ll quickly have more to worry about than finding savings; your workers will likely find another job.

What is a burden rate in construction?

Because absorption costing includes fixed overhead costs in the cost of its products, it is unfavorable compared with variable costing when management is making internal incremental pricing decisions. This is because variable costing will only include the extra costs of producing the next incremental unit of a product. This means you pay $0.25 in indirect costs for every dollar of gross wages you pay the employee.

To figure how much you pay for an employee, you must count all your payroll costs. Include your share of employment taxes, workers’ compensation, and 401(k) match, your health-insurance contribution and all other benefits. When you add these costs to what you pay the employee annually, the result is likely much higher than what her paycheck shows.

The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended, and should not be construed, as legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion provided by AAFCPAs to the user. The user of this should contact his or her AAFCPAs advisor prior to taking any action based on this information. AAFCPAs assumes no obligation to inform the reader of changes or other factors that could affect the information contained herein. Further, any food or beverage offerings, wellness activities, training costs, lodging for business trips, and required uniforms may be added if the services are provided by the company. They decide this burden rate is too high as a standard, and consider ways to reduce benefits for new hires so that the company remains profitable.


It accumulates all those indirect costs from the production process. Companies add those items to their direct costs for decision-making. The labor burden rate calculates the ratio between indirect labor and direct payroll costs. Indirect costs are those costs that cannot be directly traced to a specific product or service. These costs are also known as overhead expenses and include things like utilities, rent, and insurance.

When Do I Use Burden Rate?

Other expenses include payroll taxes, benefits, insurance, paid time off, meals, and equipment or supplies. This will help determine how much an employee costs their employer per hour. It is commonly used to accept all payment types calculate the indirect costs of having employees and manufacturing inventory. You might see it as factory overhead, manufacturing burden, indirect production costs, labor burden, or other similar terms.

When do I use the labor burden rate?

An unburdened labor rate accounts for the employee’s gross pay, but a fully burdened labor rate includes all the other hidden costs. The first step is calculating the salary costs, as you have to pay a certain percentage of indirect costs to cover that person for every dollar you spend. However, the figure calculated under labor is not only the employee’s salary compensation.

Does a fully burdened labor rate include a fee?

With equipment maintenance being an important indirect cost, those costs need to be monitored as well. Equipment tracking lets you see every time a bulldozer, jackhammer, concrete cutter or scaffolding was used on a project.There are many reasons to accurately estimate the labor burden of each employee. When you know how much you’re really paying for the total cost of production hours, you can more accurately bid on jobs. This will drive profits, help you avoid losing out on money, and will pave way for bigger, better opportunities where you will be more equipped and better able to estimate how much the job will cost. Calculating your labor burden rate is a great way to improve job bidding accuracy and understand more about the true cost of labor. If you’re looking for ways to gain more control over jobs without taking control, try busybusy’s time tracking app.

Therefore, as production increases, net income naturally rises, because the fixed-cost portion of the cost of goods sold will decrease. In cost estimation, the constructor needs to consider the whole scope of costs besides the employee’s salary. An employee’s earnings alone do not account for the total costs of keeping that employee. Traditionally companies worked with a 30% labor burden rate, but the current increases in health insurance alone can throw a company off-budget.

Once the total overhead is added together, divide it by the number of employees, and add that figure to the employee’s annual labor cost. The fully-burdened labor cost is the full hourly cost to employ a worker for the hours she actually works, which includes wages and the “burden” of the additional costs. You can calculate your fully-burdened labor costs to help you make decisions about managing your workforce and your budget. This information is useful when deciding whether to outsource operations to low-cost labor regions, as well as to decide whether to lay off employees. Vacation pay, health insurance, and any other benefits or expenses related to employment are included. The cost of labor is the sum of each employee’s gross wages, in addition to all other expenses paid per employee.