Benefits Specialist
Sonoco Products Company - Hartsville, SC

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Sonoco is a $4.9 billion global manufacturer of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and provider of packaging services for many of the world's best-known brands. Sonoco employs approximately 20,000 individuals, and has 335 operations worldwide. Founded in 1899 on the belief that People Build Businesses , we value our people and are committed to giving them every opportunity to use their talent and skills to grow themselves, their careers and our Company. We offer world-class benefits, value people and teamwork, celebrate challenges, reward success, are committed to employee satisfaction and work/life balance, and are recognized worldwide for our commitment to growing future leaders.


This position will be responsible for the day to day support of benefit operations with a focus on administration and compliance. Position reports to the Manager, Benefits Operations and requires strong understanding of third party administrators’ responsibilities and data interfaces between Sonoco payroll/HRIS and all benefit vendors (health, life, disability and retirement). Also requires support of benefit compliance. Use benefit process knowledge to work effectively with vendors to solve short term issues and to foster long term continuous improvements. Must have ability to manage multiple tasks and deadlines and to take a proactive approach using team collaboration, independent judgment, initiative and problem solving skills in the daily support of benefit administration and compliance.

Primary Responsibilities:

Document benefit administrative relationships, including file interfaces and frequency. Review documentation semi-annually.

Log appropriate benefit issues and level of detail in third party tools (Issue Tracker, DBE workflow, etc.).

Identify areas with consistent administrative issues and work with third parties to correct or adjust systems and processes.

Ensure accurate application of eligibility and benefit plan design within various vendor systems (UHC, MetLife, Reed, Prudential, etc.)

Ensure accurate administration of nonstandard 401(k) formulas

Ensure accurate administration of Sonoco Retirement Contribution (SRC) eligibility and contribution calculation

Work with third parties and payroll to effectively administer nonqualified retirement benefits; timing and form of payment, FICA calcs and process for both defined benefit and defined contribution plans, coordinate with payroll for FICA payments when appropriate.

Direct participants to appropriate benefit resource.

Audit of medical plan’s spouse coverage provision – coordinate with vendor, manage deadlines, educate internal benefits dept and external customer service teams on deadlines and FAQs.

Support Life insurance and carrier information requests within required deadline and validation of accurate conversion/port process to terminated employees.

Support retiree life eligibility administration

Leave of Absence Management – review monthly leave report and compare to direct billing information; contact benefit coordinators when status changes are needed. Ensure terminations are processed at the end of the approved leave period. Reconcile discrepancies between AonHewitt’s leave of absence list.

Explain the life and disability administration processes to HR Personnel, Benefit Coordinators and vendors. Research issues/complaints and provide responses. Document all grandfathered life and LTD groups.

Voluntary Benefit Program support as the liaison, with regular communications, with WorkPlace Solutions and all voluntary benefit providers. Also resolve discrepancies between direct billing and payroll deductions. Current voluntary plans include Aflac Cancer, Colonial Accident, Unum Interest Sensitive Life, Travelers Home and Auto.


Research benefit appeals. Update vendors and draft ERISA compliant response to employees with results of Benefits Committee actions.

Review SPDs and insurance certificates for accuracy.

Support distribution of SARs and other technical notices.

Annual Enrollment Support

Work with team members and vendors to update systems and processes in support of annual enrollment changes.

Support evaluation of annual enrollment changes and their impact on eligibility groups, system set up and interfaces.

Support user acceptance testing

Support evaluation of union groups and whether to apply annual enrollment changes to the standard Sonoco plans.

Other Duties as Assigned

Review requirement documents on a regular basis. Trouble-shoot administrative issues with an understanding of the third party systems (requirements documents).

Ensure union contract updates are applied to administrative systems (Benefit Center, UHC, Medco, JPMorgan, Reed, etc.)

Develop excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations as needed.

Work with peers and support cross-functional sharing of information.

Conduct training and informational benefit seminars

Required Skills

Required Experience

College degree in business administration, industrial relations, Human Resources administration, or a related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Three to five years progressively responsible experience in the benefits area including administration of employee health and welfare plans. Working knowledge of health care reform legislation, HIPAA, MA reporting requirements, and other current legislation related to health plans.

Ability to analyze situations, find solutions and make decisions without immediate supervision; Ability to understand and document complicated work flows and multiple layers of vendor relationships; effective written, oral and formal presentation communication skills; understand and independently carry out oral and written instructions; prioritize tasks and do several tasks simultaneously while maintaining security and confidentiality of records.

Intermediate to advanced working knowledge of Excel, Word, PowerPoint and PeopleSoft. Accurately and efficiently use a variety of spreadsheet and/or database programs to create/produce reports, spreadsheets and other documents as needed to fulfill the requirements of the job; learn and successfully use new software programs as required to fulfill the requirements of the position.

Must work effectively as a Benefit Department team member. Actively support other team members in sharing of experience and knowledge, as well as hands-on involvement on a task or project.

Three to five years progressively responsible experience in the benefits area (health, disability and/or retirement).

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