Manager Employee Benefits
City of Palo Alto - Palo Alto, CA

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The City of Palo Alto is recruiting for a new position, Manager Employee Benefits, reporting to the Chief People Officer. Our mission is to attract, develop and retain a diverse, well-qualified and professional workforce that reflects the high standards of the community we serve.

The City is in an era of transformational change, where the structures and practices and organization of this local government are evolving to be more innovative and flexible. The government of the future must attract, retain and grow talent, create new, more pliable organizational structures focused on participation and results, and foster an environment of collaboration, co-production, and shared responsibility. This position will create and implement innovative health, insurance and pension practices to address fiscal and structural costs, effectively communicating changes while maintaining a total compensation package that attracts and retains talent.

The Manager, Employee Benefits will design, direct and evaluate a citywide comprehensive benefits program and will also design a cost and resource-effective way of administering employee benefits to all City employee groups. The Manager, working closely with the CPO, provides a strategy for active and retiree health and insurance benefits plans, effectively communicating recommendations to the Executive Leadership Team and City Council. The Manager works closely with the City Attorney’s office and the Administrative Services Department to analyze the best way to administer benefits, including utilizing third party administrators and surveying agencies to determine the City’s competitive position in employee benefits. The Manager develops, recommends, implements approved, new, or modified plans and employee benefit policies, and supervises administration of existing plans, and develops cost control procedures to assure maximum coverage at the least possible cost to company and employee.

Essential Duties:

Essential and other important responsibilities and duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Administers employee benefits programs including but not limited to pension and deferred compensation retirement plans; basic hospital, medical, surgical, and major medical plans; term life insurance plans; temporary disability programs; and accidental death policies.
2. Evaluates and compares existing City benefits with those of other public and private employers by analyzing other plans, surveys, and other sources of information. Plans, develops, and/or participates in agency and area surveys. Analyzes results of surveys and develops specific recommendations for review by management.
3. Develops specifications for new plans or modifies existing plans to maintain City's competitive position in labor market, and obtain uniform benefit package where possible.
4. Recommends classes of eligible employees for new or modified plans. Develops census data and solicits insurance companies for quotations. Evaluates quotations and makes recommendations to management. Develops cost information for new plans and makes recommendations to management concerning sharing of cost between the City and employees in various represented and non-represented units.
5. Installs approved new plans and changes by preparing email and print communications, web material, booklets, and other media for communicating new or modified plans to employees. Conducts employee meetings and arranges for enrollment of employees in optional plans. Conducts employee benefit seminars for employees. Revises and reissues all communications material on benefits from time to time. Advises and counsels management and employees on existing benefits.
6. Manages or prepares, with legal consultation, benefit documentation such as original and amended plan texts, benefit agreements and insurance policies. Instructs insurance carriers, trustees, and other administrative agencies outside the company to effect changes in benefit program. Ensures prompt and accurate compliance.
7. Participates on union negotiating teams, develops bargaining proposals for employee benefits and analyzes union benefits proposals. Obtains and prepares cost data for City and union proposals and final settlements.
8. Assures City compliance with provisions of State and federal law. Supervises preparation of reports and applications required by law to be filed with federal and state agencies, such as Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, PERS, insurance commissioners, and other regulatory agencies. Reviews and analyzes changes to state and federal laws pertaining to benefits, and reports necessary or suggested changes to management. Coordinates City benefits with government sponsored programs.
9. Assures that existing and new benefit programs are adaptable to standardized computer and reporting systems, including testing. Develops benefit information and statistical and census data for actuaries, insurance carriers, and management.
10. Ability to analyze and interpret laws, ordinances and regulations, to accumulate and analyze data, prepare comprehensive reports, speak and write effectively, and work with a minimum of direction
11. Design and oversee a system to handles benefit inquiries and complaints to ensure quick, equitable, and courteous resolution. Maintains contact with insurance companies, employees, and beneficiaries to facilitate proper and complete utilization of benefits for all employees.
12. Supervises maintenance of employee records. Supervises maintenance of enrollment, application, and claims records for all benefit plans.

Minimum Qualifications:

Sufficient education, training and/or work experience to demonstrate possession of the knowledge, skills, and abilities which would typically be acquired through:
1. Required - A bachelor's degree in Public Administration, Human Resources, Health Administration, or comparable field, and at least five (5) years’ experience in public agency, benefits broker or state agency in employee benefits administration at a management or senior administrative level, managing medical and retirement plans. Demonstrated experience designing and managing public agency employee benefits.

2. Desired - A master's degree in Human Resource Management, Public Administration, Business Administration, Health Administration or related field, and at least four (4) years’ experience at a management or senior administrative level in public agency benefits administration or work with a benefits broker specializing in public benefits. Experience in plan design, conversion and flexible benefit plans is preferred.

3. Minimal - An appropriate combination of at least a B.A. education and relevant work experience.

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