A new CBO report finding that federal salaries on average are slightly ahead of the private sector’s for employees with similar education levels said that the advantage is even greater if benefits are included.

It said that for employees with no more than a high school education the benefits advantage is 93 percent, for those with some college 80 percent, for those with a bachelor’s degree 52 percent, while for those with a professional degree or doctorate federal benefits were 3 percent less valuable.

Said the report: “Most of the higher benefit costs incurred by the federal government stem from differences in retirement benefits. The federal government provides retirement benefits to its workers through both a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan, whereas many large private-sector employers have replaced defined benefit plans with defined contribution plans. The federal government also provides subsidized health insurance to qualified retirees, an arrangement that has become much less common in the private sector.”

CBO said that in addition to retirement and health insurance, its benefit calculation included the value of leave, but not of more minor benefits.

As with its finding of a salary advantage overall for federal employees, the CBO did not recommend any changes to benefits policies in light of its comparison of benefits.