What is a benefits specialist?
Benefits specialists are an integral part of a company’s HR department. These individuals are responsible for managing and administering a company’s employee benefit and compensation programs, from retirement plans and health insurance to life insurance and beyond.
Part of a benefits specialist job description is having an in-depth knowledge of both benefits and the federal and state laws that govern them. They need to know how to sort out issues, like coordinating an employee’s leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or changing contributions in a 401(k) account. Beyond that, they need to be able to break down these complex topics in easy-to-digest language to employees.
How is this role monitored?
The benefits specialist position is not supervisory, but it’s not entry-level, either. It requires a wealth of specialized knowledge and analytical skills that require experience and training. A good benefits specialist can easily understand and evaluate complicated employment laws, insurance plans, retirement programs, and additional compensation programs like profit-sharing and stock ownership.
In a smaller company, the benefits specialist position is monitored by a generalized HR manager. In a larger company, the role may be monitored by a benefits manager.
Benefits specialist salary
The median benefits specialist salary in the U.S. is $64,560 per year, but there’s a high ceiling. The top 10% of earners in this field take home more than $105,600 per year, while the lowest take home less than $40,140 annually.
The benefits specialist salary range does change based on the industry. Professional, scientific, and technical fields pay most, while those working in healthcare and social assistance take home the least.
What does a benefits specialist do?
All of a benefits specialist’s duties center on company benefits and compensation packages. They’re the go-to person for both new hires and long-standing employees looking to make the most out of what their employer offers. Job duties include:
- Researching, analyzing, and administering healthcare plans and wellness programs, from medical and dental benefits to disability and family leave
- Coordinating non-salary employee compensation like retirement plans, pensions, tuition reimbursement, and stock options
- Advising employees, answering questions, and enrolling staff in benefit and compensation programs
- Processing various paperwork, especially regarding disability, FMLA absences, and employee life status changes
- Appealing decisions made by insurance companies, resolving disputes, and solving problems with benefits and compensation programs