Benefits administration involves the creation and management of employee benefits, as well as providing a means for employees to be trained in understanding how the benefits work, and what types of standards employees must meet in order to qualify for the benefits. Often, benefits administration occurs within the Human Resources department of a larger company, although smaller companies may designate the function of benefits administration to other areas or individuals. Here is some background on what an effective administrator does on a daily basis.
Much of the work of the administrator is devoted to coordinating a benefits plan that is currently in place. Benefits administration involves spending a lot of the day making sure benefit plans are running smoothly. This will often include review of accumulation of personal days, vacation days, and sick days. The administrator will make sure the process for adding days off to an employee’s account is being done according to the company’s defined process. In addition, the administrator will work with the payroll department to make sure that the employee is paid for any approved days taken, and that those days are deducted from the appropriate resource.
Next, benefits administration often involves overseeing the health insurance coverage for qualified employees. This means making sure that payments are made to the insurance provider in a timely manner, as well as ensuring that every qualified employee who wishes to be included in the group coverage is processed properly. The administrator will also be responsible for implementing a benefits plan for new employees who complete the probationary period that many companies require before being eligible to accumulate paid leave and health coverage.
When the employee benefit program includes an investment or retirement program, benefits administration personnel will also oversee the daily functioning of those programs as well. This may involve making sure payroll deductions are in place to help fund any contributions put in place by the employee, as well as ensuring that any matching funds that are promised by the employer are applied in a timely manner. This places the administrator in direct contact with the financial officers of the company, who will work with the administration team for the good of all employees of the company, both hourly and salaried.
Part of benefits administration also involves interaction with the employee. At any given point, an employee should be able to meet with an administrator and obtain the latest information regarding the status of his or her benefits. From this perspective, the administrator is a means of communication between the company and the employee. This may occur by allowing employees to make inquiries when they wish, as well as proactively providing periodic updates to each employee about the status of their benefits.
It is important to recognize that benefits administration is involved in not only seeing to the welfare of the employee, but also the well being of the company. To that end, efficient benefits administration means developing benefit programs that are good for the employee, but do not place undue pressure on the company to meet those benefit commitments. For this reason, administrators are often looking at new options for benefits, attempting to find programs that will provide at least as much for employees, while keeping the cost to employers as low as possible.