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In companies that provide benefit packages to their employees, a benefits representative develops and implements programs based on job classifications, job seniority and the assets the company has available to support such programs. She is qualified to answer employee questions regarding insurance coverage, educational reimbursement programs, pension and retirement plans and miscellaneous benefits.
Benefits descriptions are typically complex in content and undecipherable by employees at a variety of levels in a company. A benefits representative explains in easily understandable language the coverage that is available to each employee. The representative answers questions regarding changes in benefits, retirement plan payout terms and schedules and how to apply for family benefits such as child care subsidies, savings plans and subsidized counseling or physical fitness programs. When prospective job candidates are interviewed, the benefits representative usually meets with them to explain the company's benefits and how they could improve the quality of life for the applicants and their families.
Duties and Responsibilities
A benefits representative needs a clear understanding of all the provided benefits as well as the terms of eligibility for each employee. When significant changes in insurance coverage such as increased co-payments or new limitations on treatment or prescription drug coverage occur, the representative promptly informs workers of the new restrictions. Besides looking out for the company's employees, a benefits representative protects the interests of the employer by constantly reviewing the terms and conditions of provided benefits while seeking cost-effective options to save the employer money. Being aware of tax incentives offered to her company for providing specific benefits is one job duty.
Benefits representatives work for small companies, medium and large corporations, government agencies, and benefits consulting and management agencies. The environment is usually a standard business office atmosphere. A benefits representative may work in a private or shared office or at a desk in a cubicle set up in a large room that houses many employees. Preferred attire is business professional. A benefits representative generally works a 40-hour week, and overtime is rarely required. The job requires sitting for most of the day working on a computer, conducting business on the telephone and meeting with benefits providers or employees.
Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.