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Sr. Benefits Consultant

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

in Golden CO

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in beautiful Golden, Colorado, is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy's effort to secure an energy future for the nation that is environmentally and economically sustainable.

Sr. Benefits Consultant
Job Req R2822

Job Summary
Key Human Resources (HR) position specializing in benefit plans administration, design and communication of the benefit programs and HR policies development and administration in coordination with the NREL total rewards programs management. Ensures cost effective and efficient use of resources to drive highest level or program value and impact. Serves as a consultant in customer service and ensuring the delivery of employee benefits across all employee and management levels at the laboratory. Formulates partnerships across the laboratory and proactively communicates change to deliver value-added service to all levels of staff. Assesses and anticipates issues related to the delivery of benefit changes. Maintains a high and effective level of benefit literacy about programs compliance.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities

  • Consults with Total Rewards Manager to set the operational and strategy direction in the design, development, implementation, administration and communication of our health and welfare programs, including health, wellness, retirement, relocation and health management. This includes the monitoring and evaluation of all policies and procedures to deliver cost impactful return on investments.
  • Teams within the HR organization to ensure benefit programs meet organization objectives within the Department of Energy guidelines and maintain and monitor all legal and compliance requirements for the programs and all reporting requirements as needed.
  • Analyzes current benefit programs to ensure they provide maximum available options to attract and retain top talent within our market space.
  • Influences the configuration and implementation of benefit policies, procedures or applications utilized by leaders, managers and employees and their communication. Oversees administration of Human Resources policies, including paid time off plans and leaves of absence. Serves as HR point-of-contact for the NREL Requirements Management policy administration process.
  • Administers alternative work assignment and work location programs, including joint appointments, off-site assignments and sabbaticals. Prepares required documents, obtains appropriate approvals and responds to inquiries. Monitors Washington, DC office staffing levels to assure compliance with government regulations.
  • Provides guidance to analysts in medical and dental plan administration, leaves of absence, long term disability, flexible spending accounts, group insurance programs and other programs. Performs day-to-day problem resolution. Interacts with Payroll Office to answer questions and resolve issues.
  • Oversees the employee Wellness 24/7 Program. Represents HR at meetings and related activities. Oversees and monitors wellness budget and expenditures to assure compliance with regulations.
  • Manages retirement plan programs: Defined Benefit Plan, 403(b) and 457(b) Defined Contribution Plans and provides an in-person presence for these programs, responding to employee questions regarding eligibility, benefit calculations, plan design, and others.
  • Ensures highest degree of customer service is provided to all plan participants and their dependents. Plans and directs the development and implementation of new, improved, and/or cost-effective benefit plans. Ensures compliance with all legal requirements; directs the preparation and filing of legally required reports, reviews and directs all accounting for benefits. Participates in all compliance related actions: annual audit, 5500 financial reporting, and A123 Internal Controls.
  • Serves as a key partner with corporate accounting and finance in the annual budgeting process to include development of projections, accrual rates and other compensation and benefit metrics
  • Assures company compliance with provisions of Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), FMLA, CFRA, CPDL, ADA, local, state, and federal legislative requirements associated with the management of all compensation, benefit, retirement and leave programs.
  • Leads annual compliance reporting, benefit audits, to include vendor management and annual open enrollments, evaluate and negotiate coverage, services and costs with carriers and brokers.
  • Supports benefits reporting and billing, researches escalated employee issues, consults with appropriate vendors and/or external benefit consultants to resolve employee issues, as well as ensures compliance with government rules and regulations.
  • Owns the Affordable Care Act (ACA) administrative processes, including performing audits on a regular basis.
  • Consults with insurance brokers to obtain trend data, benefit and plan design offerings, and costs; responds to insurance proposals and makes recommendations for benefit offering changes; collaborates with the contracted employee benefits broker in the design and actuarial review of benefit programs
  • Oversees and prepares all regulatory filings and audit activity including 5500s, discrimination testing, ACA reporting SARs and Summary Plan Descriptions.
  • Researches complex benefit plan issues with appropriate parties. Identifies and recommends alternative approach/solutions.
  • Collaborates and consults with payroll as necessary to ensure program compliance. Assists plan administrator with coordinating oversight committee activities.
  • Utilizes knowledge of best practices to develop strategic, cost-effective, competitive, innovative, high quality total rewards programs. Manages the planning, implementation, maintenance and administration of these programs efficiently and accurately ensuring programs are consistently administered in compliance with company policies and government regulations.
  • Oversees the execution of the renewal recommendation process and Open Enrollment process for benefit programs, including strategic planning, project management, education, and communication.
  • Responsible for compliance and financial reporting requirements of the health & welfare, compensation, and retirement programs; help prepare government filings, plan audits, and other tax reporting requirements.
  • May direct work of others in the department.

EEO Policy / E-Verify

NREL's policy is to provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified persons without regard to race, age, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status.

NREL validates right to work using E-Verify. NREL will provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with information from each new employee's Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. For additional information, please click here

Pre-employment drug testing required.

Required Education, Experience, and Skills
Relevant Bachelor's Degree and 14 or more years of experience or equivalent relevant education/experience. Or, relevant Master's Degree and 12 or more years of experience or equivalent relevant education/experience. Or, relevant PhD and 9 or more years of experience or equivalent relevant education/experience. Or, relevant JD and 9 or more years of experience or equivalent relevant education/experience. Applies advanced technical principles, theories and concepts. Contributes to the development of new principles and concepts. Develops advanced concepts, techniques and standards. Develops new applications based on professional principles and theories. Viewed externally as subject matter expert in field. Comprehensive and advanced knowledge of laws, regulations, principles, procedures and practices related to specific field. Superior leadership, project management and problem solving skills. Ability to use various computer software programs.

Additional Knowledge and Experience (education, training, certifications and experience)

  • PHR, SPHR or comparable designation is a plus. Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation, Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) designation, preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience in the design, implementation and operation of benefits systems to achieve compliance requirement and implementation of benefit strategies.
  • Experience working in a compliance based HR organization is helpful. National Lab experience is a definite plus. Experience administering Benefits for a US Government Contractor preferred.
  • Hands on experience with plan documents, summary plan descriptions, benefit communications, Form 5500 filings, annual audits with multiple regulatory agencies, benefit calculations for defined benefit plans, and compliance testing required.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in laws and regulations governing benefits including Affordable Care Act, ERISA, HIPAA, IRS regulations, Section 125, COBRA, EEOC, OFCCP, OSHA, FLSA and Title VII.
  • Must be experienced in Defined Contribution retirement plan administration, with compliance focus. Experience with Defined Benefit retirement plan administration preferred.

Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrated skill in dealing with legal and ethical management issues and practices. Excellent organization, project management, budgeting, interpersonal and communication skills. Proven problem-solving and negotiation skills. Ability to collaborate with individuals at all levels of the organization.
  • Organized and detail oriented with strong communication and presentation skills, both written and verbal at both the employee and leadership level.
  • Strong understanding of Workday and or similar HR systems and web-based tools and demonstrated ability to stay up-to-date on Benefit trends and technology developments.
  • Engaged, collaborative team player with strong interpersonal and consultative skills. Ability to build relationships and gain respect at all levels of the organization, handling complex situations professionally with diplomacy and exercise sound judgment and confidentiality regarding all employee-related issues.


How to Apply

Submit Your Resume

Please apply online at: and search for Req # R2822

Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.

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