Responsible for providing overall advice and assistance on a wide range of employee relations matters. As a subject matter employee relations, employee benefits, and performance management expert independently resolves difficult issues/problems. Serves as the states principal advisor and consultant to key management and employees on the full range of employee benefits. Manages, administers and provides advice on such programs as life and health insurance, leave, Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Long Term Care, and the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). Counsels personnel on such matters as pre-retirement, leave usage and situations of potential FECA abuse. Conducts program analyses to determine compliance with laws, regulations and policies. Provides advice, guidance and interpretation of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and National Guard Bureau (NGB) regulations to managers and employees. Administers and provides advice on performance management systems, the incentive awards and suggestion programs. Develops new or modified local procedures to improve the various programs effectiveness for managers and supervisors in support of the agency goals. Provides coaching and counseling to managers and supervisors on performance issues such as performance improvement plans, recognition techniques and feedback on establishment of critical elements and standards. Initiates and accomplishes coordination with other HRO Specialists, NGB, Hearing Examiners, Union representatives, management and employees on performance based appeals. Program Manager for the Incentive Awards Program. Administers the awards program involving monetary and non-monetary recognition. Reviews requests to ensure ratings and justifications for recommendations meet regulatory requirements. Responsible for overseeing and directing the counseling of management, employees, retirees and family members on a wide range of benefit programs such as CSRS/FERS retirement, Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB), Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), TSP and FECA. Establishes informative material for employees on new, changed, and pending policy and outlines impact on existing benefit program entitlements. Determines entitlement to retirement annuities, eligibility for continuation of life and health insurance. Provides individual employee counseling on retirement options and benefit eligibility. Manages and advises personnel on programs such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, military or civilian deposits for CSRS/FERS, disability benefits, Light Duty program, and Workers Compensation Program. Provides technical advice on flexibilitys and appropriate use of leave issues such as Sick Leave for Family Care and Bereavement, compensatory time, leave without pay, absence without leave and military leave. Administers and provides guidance on the use of the Family and Medical Leave Act and Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. Interprets guidance and regulations to provide advice to management and employees on pay schedule adjustments, grade and pay retention, severance pay, back pay, debts, and compensation. Coordinates with United States Property and Fiscal Office and Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Develops cases taking into account the relevant laws and policies to ensure that penalties promote the efficiency of the agency. Serves as agency advisor at hearings. In consultation with other HR specialists, provides guidance to all levels of management, and employees on voluntary actions taken by management or employees in matters pertaining to abandonment of positions, change to lower grade, loss of military membership, management directed reassignments and enforced leave. Utilizes the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System for input of personnel actions, review of products, and resolves discrepancies. Monitors and ensures the FECA program is properly publicized and supervisors are provided the appropriate guidelines for use of the program. Ensures prompt submission of claims and medical documents. Works with Department of Labor, Civilian Personnel Management System, ANG/ARNG Safety Managers and supervisors to ensure payment of legitimate claims, questionable claims are reviewed and referred to DOL as appropriate and potential fraudulent claims are reported to the appropriate office for investigation. Reviews requests for personnel and position actions to determine impact on benefit entitlements. Develops, modifies, conducts and/or oversees the presentation of basic and/or refresher training in employee relations policies and procedures such as incentive awards, discipline, grievances, performance management, and retirement. Attends employee relations workshops, symposiums, etc. Trains employee(s) in assigned duties and responsibilities. Performs other duties as assigned.