What Does a Benefits Specialist Do?

Crystal Cook

A benefits specialist is in charge of a company's employee benefits. This specialist works with a company, its employees, governments and healthcare providers — and also may deal with the public — to get the best benefits packages. Benefits specialists must keep up with changing federal and state regulations. These specialists also may be involved in negotiations such as those between unions and companies.

Benefits specialists may find programs that can help injured employees recover from injury.
Benefits specialists may find programs that can help injured employees recover from injury.

The employee benefits that a benefits specialist handles are usually health or pension benefits. Pension plans could be a savings plan, profit sharing plan or stock ownership plan. Health benefits include employee wellness and assistance programs, dental and medical insurance, life insurance, and long-term care insurance. A specialist researches employee benefits and health and safety practices by talking to other companies and groups such as insurance brokers. The specialist then recommends to the company any modifications or changes to current policies.

It is important for benefits specialists to stay on top of new federal regulations regarding healthcare and other worker benefits.
It is important for benefits specialists to stay on top of new federal regulations regarding healthcare and other worker benefits.

There are many things a benefits specialist does for a company. Cost and job analyses and reports are two functions of the benefits specialist. Writing job descriptions, classifying the jobs, and deciding salaries for workers also are part of the specialist's duties. He or she may be in charge of preparing and maintaining employee handbooks and personnel records.

A benefits specialist may look at how much time off should be given for maternity leave.
A benefits specialist may look at how much time off should be given for maternity leave.

A benefits specialist researches job and worker requirements and develops the materials and curricula that will be used for employee training programs. To help develop training and other programs, he or she may observe employees as they work, do interviews or conduct surveys. Specialists may lead programs to educate employees about compensation and benefits. They also can offer advice about company policies and procedures in regards to employee benefits.

Health insurance plans are secured by benefits specialists.
Health insurance plans are secured by benefits specialists.

Benefits specialists sometimes work with the public. They may gather research to publish films, books, journals or manuals. These publications may be used to provide the public with more information about the company. The publications also can be used for training employees.

A benefits specialist calculates how much a company will pay to employees who are injured on the job.
A benefits specialist calculates how much a company will pay to employees who are injured on the job.

It is necessary for a benefits specialist to have strong skills in problem solving. Specialists may be liaisons or consultants between businesses, the government and unions. Benefits specialists offer advice about resolving complaints dealing with things such as salaries and benefits. They may negotiate collective agreements on behalf of the employers or workers.

It is important for benefits specialists to stay on top of any federal and state regulations or legislation, because these can change rapidly. Benefits specialists ensure that companies are compliant with state and federal regulations and file reports properly. In the U.S., they also may work with the U.S. Department of Labor and encourage employers to use it. Programs for personnel and labor relations are designed by benefits specialists to fulfill regulations with larger programs such as affirmative action.

Benefits specialists work with companies, employees, governments and healthcare providers.
Benefits specialists work with companies, employees, governments and healthcare providers.

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Discussion Comments

Heavanet

If your company has a benefits specialist on staff, it is a good idea to take advantage of his or her expertise. I had always chosen my benefits on my own, but last year decided to see what would happen if I got the advice of my company's benefits specialist. I was surprised to save money on my health and life insurance options, and found better ways to invest in my 401k plan.

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