The burden rate concept is especially worthwhile in situations where the bulk of a company’s business comes from directly billable hours, where you need to be as precise as possible in tracking profits by person. Make a comprehensive list of indirect business expenses including items like rent, taxes, utilities, office equipment, factory maintenance etc. Direct expenses related to the production of goods and services, such as labor and raw materials, are not included in overhead costs.

Include any payroll taxes, insurance, benefits, meals, supplies and training costs. In this example, assume you pay \$2,000 in payroll taxes, \$1,000 in insurance, \$2,000 in benefits and \$5,000 in supplies and other miscellaneous expenses. Add together \$2,000, \$1,000, \$2,000 and \$5,000 to get a labor burden cost of \$10,000. These can include rent or mortgage payments, depreciation of assets, salaries and payroll, membership and subscription dues, legal fees and accounting costs. Fixed expense amounts stay the same regardless if a business earns more — or loses more — in revenue that month.

Labor burden includes payroll taxes, retirement benefits, health benefits, worker’s compensation, life insurance, pensions and other fringe benefits. Labor burden can be a significant portion of the total cost of carrying employees, especially when employers provide many fringe benefits. The cost of labor is the sum of each employee’s gross wages, in addition to all other expenses paid per employee. Other expenses include payroll taxes, benefits, insurance, paid time off, meals, and equipment or supplies. To calculate labor burden rate, you must first total your indirect costs.

## What Is the Burden Rate?

The burden rate provides a truer picture of total absorbed costs than payroll costs alone. To calculate the labor burden, add each employee’s wages, payroll taxes, and benefits to an employer’s annual overhead costs (building costs, property taxes, utilities, equipment, insurance, and benefits). These include all the expenses you pay outside of labor costs — things like building costs, property taxes, and utilities — and they can be calculated either monthly or annually, depending on the needs of your business. To figure it out, just divide your total annual overhead costs by the number of employees at your business.

However, overheads are still vital to business operations as they provide critical support for the business to carry out profit making activities. For example, overhead costs such as the rent for a factory allows workers to manufacture products which can then be sold for a profit. Overheads are also very important cost element along with direct materials and direct labor. This is in addition to other employee-related expenses, including state payroll taxes, Social Security and Medicaid taxes, and the cost of benefits (insurance,paid time off, and meals or equipment or supplies). A business’s overhead refers to all non-labor related expenses, which excludes costs associated with manufacture or delivery.

Payroll costs — including salary, liability and employee insurance — fall into this category. Overhead expenses are categorized into fixed and variable, according to Entrepreneur. It is important for a small business owner to know how to calculate and separate his overhead costs — especially if he’s looking for financing or creating a bid for partnership.

### What is included in burden rate?

The burden rate is the allocation rate at which indirect costs are applied to the direct costs of either labor or inventory. You should add burden to the direct cost of either labor or inventory in order to present the total absorbed cost of these items. The two situations in which the burden rate is used are: Labor.

General and administrative (G&A) expenses are incurred in the day-to-day operations of a business and may not be directly tied to a specific function or department within the company. General expenses pertain to operational overhead expenses that impact the entire business. Administrative expenses are expenses that cannot be directly tied to a specific function within the company such as manufacturing, production, or sales. G&A expenses include rent, utilities, insurance, legal fees, and certain salaries. Labor costs including salaries and fringe benefits are one of the largest administrative costs incurred by a business.

• Typical costs associated with the burden rate include payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, health insurance, paid time off, training, travel expenses, vacation and sick leave, pension contributions, and other benefits.
• The burden rate consists of indirect costs associated with employees, or inventory, over and above gross compensation or payroll costs.

Knowing your labor burden rate is important during budgeting, because it enables you to reduce or increase labor costs as necessary. 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.

## AccountingTools

The burden rate consists of indirect costs associated with employees, or inventory, over and above gross compensation or payroll costs. Typical costs associated with the burden rate include payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, health insurance, paid time off, training, travel expenses, vacation and sick leave, pension contributions, and other benefits.

## The benefits of calculating burden rate

Associated payroll costs, including outsourcing payroll services, are included in the fixed expense category. Labor costs, such as employee time, that are not chargeable to a direct manufacturing or production activity also fall under fixed expenses. Labor burden describes the costs a business incurs to employ a worker, besides the actual cash wages or salary that it pays to the employee.

Payroll taxes and benefits are added to an employee’s wages to arrive at the total cost of labor for that individual. For example, if the annual benefits and payroll taxes associated with an individual is \$20,000 and his wages are \$80,000, then the burden rate is \$0.25 per \$1.00 of wages. In business, overhead or overhead expense refers to an ongoing expense of operating a business. Overheads are the expenditure which cannot be conveniently traced to or identified with any particular cost unit, unlike operating expenses such as raw material and labor. Therefore, overheads cannot be immediately associated with the products or services being offered, thus do not directly generate profits.

To arrive at labor burden rate per hour, divide your total annual cost by an employee’s annual working hours. Determine from your records the amount of annual costs you pay in addition to your employee’s hourly wage that are directly related to his job.

## Required Burden Rate Costs

Your labor burden is your payroll expense that goes beyond what you pay your workers. It includes your hidden expenses associated with the employee’s job. Overhead expenses, however, are called operating costs and involve the indirect expenses needed to operate your business. 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.

The indirect costs are anything beyond an employee’s gross compensation. For example, indirect costs might include employment taxes, workers’ compensation, health insurance, and paid time off.