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Benefits Specialist (Retirement Focus)

Smith College
403(b), retirement plan
United States, Massachusetts, Northampton
7 College Ln (Show on map)
July 23, 2023

If you have any questions about the position or our application process, reach out to us at .

Human Resources Job Description

Job Summary

In this role, you will manage all aspects of Smith College's retirement plans and assigned benefit plans. Oversee vendor relationships with third party administrators. Ensure consistency and compliance with applicable laws and policies. Perform a wide range of activities to develop, administer and communicate benefits programs and policies. Administer total rewards programs, including subsidies. Provide consultation and support to Smith employees on benefit related matters. Build and maintain positive working relationships with team members, internal customers and external vendors.

Take appropriate actions to support a diverse workforce and participate in the College's efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Essential Functions

Retirement Plan Administration (40%):

Autonomously provide end-to-end administration of Smith College's 403(b), 457(b) and 457(f) plans in accordance with plan documents. Consult with employees who have questions or requests related to retirement. Draft plan documents and disseminate information. Monitor employee eligibility including processing eligibility waivers. Remit contributions to recordkeeper(s) in an accurate and timely manner. Conduct routine audits and proactively reconcile discrepancies between vendor data and Smith data. Work with the plan's recordkeeper(s) and third-party administrator (TPA) to ensure compliance and smooth functioning of the plan including overseeing quarterly Committee meetings and administering the annual plan audit and preparation of 5500s. Arrange for general educational seminars for employees and provide information appropriate to the needs of those approaching retirement age.

Benefit Plans Administration (35%):

Independently administer, troubleshot and provide education for assigned benefit plans including medical / prescription, healthcare subsidy and pet insurance as examples. Initiate, interpret and determine employee and dependent eligibility and benefit/deduction amounts. Act as liaison between employees and benefit vendors to resolve coverage/claim matters. Participate in vendor negotiations for annual renewals. Serve as a resource in planning, scheduling, and implementing benefit initiatives.

Annual Open Enrollment Administration (15%):

Participate in annual planning sessions to identify enhancements and program offerings. In collaboration with the Operations team, and with an eye toward continuous improvement, project manage the open enrollment process including system updates and testing, communications and execution.

Other Functions (10%)

  • Participate in total rewards surveys. Analyze data to suggest program changes and improvements.

  • Identify and participate in projects and continuous improvement efforts for the department.

  • Apply and stay up-to-date on knowledge of benefit trends, legislation and compliance including ERISA, IRS, ACA, HIPPA, COBRA and other applicable regulations to ensure compliance of college plans.

  • Participate as a member of the Human Resources team. Cross-train with and provide back-up coverage for peers in the department.

  • Other related duties as assigned.

All employees are expected to participate in the College's efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Minimum Qualifications (knowledge, skills, education, experience, certifications, licenses)

Bachelor's degree and at least five years of related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Expertise in benefit-related regulations / laws, policies, and practices with particular expert level knowledge in those pertaining to retirement plans

Preferred Qualifications

Experience administering and troubleshooting benefits in Workday. Prior experience project managing annual initiatives like Open Enrollment. CBP (Certified Benefits Professionals) a plus.


Advanced understanding of end-to-end employee retirement and benefits laws/regulations and processes. Proven critical thinking and analytical skills. Demonstrated ability to solve complex matters and engage stakeholders to identify the root cause(s). Excellent communication (oral and written) and customer service skills. Highly organized. Proven ability to maintain accurate and detailed records. Thrives in a fast-paced, complex, and at times ambiguous environment. Ability to prioritize and manage multiple concurrent priorities. Ability to manage competing demands while being extremely adaptable and flexible. Tech-savvy with intermediate to advanced proficiency in Excel (including formulas, pivot tables, VLOOKUP's) and Word and an ability to learn new tools/technologies quickly.

Additional Information

Following an initial onboarding period, this role is eligible for a hybrid work schedule (3 days onsite / 2 days remote).

For the care and safety of our community, Smith College requires that all employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment and as such, the incumbent will be required to be immunized against COVID-19 on or before their first day of employment. Proof of vaccination status will be required. Individuals may seek medical or religious exemption with HR, but must do so prior to their arrival.

Please attach BOTH a current resume and a cover letter in order for your application to be considered for this position . Be sure you have provided all attachments before submitting your application.
You will NOT be able to attach additional files after you have hit the Submit button.

Review of applications will begin

February 27, 2023

Compensation Grade:

Grade I

Position Type:

Regular About Smith College

Located in Northampton, MA, Smith College is one of the largest women's colleges in the country and is dedicated to excellence in teaching and research across the liberal arts. A faculty of outstanding scholars interact with students in small classes, as advisors, and through student-faculty research projects. The College is a member of the Five College Consortium with Amherst, Hampshire and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.Students cross-enroll and faculty cross-teach across the Five Colleges.

Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 151B, it is the policy of Smith College to provide reasonable accommodation when requested by a qualified applicant or employee with a disability, unless such accommodation would cause an undue hardship. The policy regarding requests for reasonable accommodation applies to all aspects of employment, including the application process. If reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact our recruiting team at .

Diversity and a culture of inclusion among students, staff, faculty, and administration are crucial to the mission and values of Smith College. We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, color, religions, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or veteran status in the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operation of any of its programs and activities, as specified by all applicable laws and regulations. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.