EMPLOYER INSIGHTS | PEOs Bring the Power of Economies of Scale to Small and Mid-Size Businesses

EMPLOYER INSIGHTS | PEOs Bring the Power of Economies of Scale to Small and Mid-Size Businesses

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) combine the buying power of many businesses by pooling employers and their employees together to provide an economy of scale previously only achievable by very large employers.

 

Businesses that turn to a PEO to manage their employee administration and compliance responsibilities experience the buying power, benefits, and specialty assistance of a large corporation…for a fraction of the cost of attaining these things independently. Especially for small and mid-size business owners, this kind of economy of scale provides huge advantages.

 

PEOs Help Businesses Survive

For the past several years, the challenges and expenses facing employers have proved too much for many businesses to survive. Companies across the country have been experiencing the impacts of not having the Human Resources necessary to mitigate and manage the depth of responsibilities placed upon employers. Many companies are using a PEO to save money while offloading and streamlining the HR-outsourcing services such as payroll, benefits, and workers’ compensation.

 

PEOs can also play an important role in helping businesses recruit and retain talented employees. Bringing all the advantages of this economy of scale, PEOs provide a company’s workforce with more robust and affordable benefits packages.

 

Not All PEOs Are Alike

Of the thousands of businesses in the US that have trusted a PEO to handle their employee administration and compliance responsibilities, many are unaware that only 11.5% are IRS-certified.

 

PEO IRS certification matters because it requires annual renewal to ensure that a PEO is financially sound by, among other things, requiring evidence of business experience and audited financial statements and quarterly reports prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) that reflect positive working capital.

 

More than anything, businesses should be able to trust that their management of Human ResourcesPayrollHealth and Benefits, and Workplace Safety is being handled by an experienced PEO operating under the highest standards, certifications, licenses, and accreditations.

 

The Best Time to Begin Working With a PEO

There really isn’t a “bad time” to start working with a PEO, especially if your company has an urgent need for Human Resources management.

 

When just considering an annual business cycle, there are timeframes that make sense to begin HR management services with us:      

 

1) Filing Federal and State Employment Tax Returns

Each quarter, businesses are required to file reports on employee wages, federal and state taxes, and unemployment insurance. To avoid splitting quarters, January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st would be great times to begin service with us.

 

2) Major Medical Plan Renewals

Changing medical plans can be a major task. Since many new clients qualify for Employer Advantage’s Major Medical Health Plan, another ideal time to begin service would be just before your existing medical plan is set to renew. We take care of all the underwriting and will complete employee enrollments before your plan ends. If you choose to keep your existing medical plan, we can also assist with open enrollment and administer the monthly billing.

 

3) Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy Renewal

Each workers’ compensation policy has an annual renewal and payment schedule in which all the premiums are paid at the beginning of the policy term, or by making a large down payment along with monthly payments. Since many businesses qualify to be included on Employer Advantage’s Master Workers’ Compensation Policy, a good time to start with Employer Advantage would be at the end of your current WC policy. This would avoid the early termination fees the other insurance companies charge.

 

4) Internal Personnel Changes

If you have an HR manager retiring or a payroll specialist getting a promotion, you may be ready to look at outsourcing. Employer Advantage will assume those duties (and many more) so you won’t have to hire or train any replacements. Just as with any profession, the skill set required to perform the “business of employment” is beyond the capabilities of just one person.

Although we have seen an influx of clients needing our assistance in navigating their workplace through the COVID-19 pandemic, for more than 30 years, hundreds of businesses have left the perceived comfort of self-service HR to join the ever-growing advantages of Human Resources outsourcing and management provided by Employer Advantage.

 

Not currently an Employer Advantage client?

WE’D BE HONORED TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A NEW PATH TO HR BLISS.

We don’t just give quotes—We provide strategic business proposals.

-Free strategic assessment of your business needs

-Quick and easy account setup and seamless transitions

-Urgent requests | Please Call: Toll Free 877.476.9520

 

Click here to see our other helpful “Blog for All Employers”

 

About Employer Advantage

A New Path to HR Bliss – Trusted for more than 30 years, Employer Advantage frees you from the administrative and compliance burdens of having employees so you can focus on your business success. Versatile enough for companies of all sizes, our unique service combines comprehensive management of your employee administration and compliance with the latest software solutions, tailored to meet your individual needs and company culture. Our full-service management of Human Resourcespayrollhealth and benefits, workplace safety, and more enhances your profitability while reducing the costs and risks associated with employment law compliance. We provide your employees with top-notch assistance and benefits that help you increase productivity, save time and money, and attract and retain a talented workforce. And for small and mid-sized businesses, we bring you economy of scale with access to Fortune 500-level benefits, specialty assistance, and savings that would not be possible to attain on your own. Headquartered in the Midwest and serving more than 500 companies and 10,000 worksite employees throughout the country, Employer Advantage is an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO) (CPEO). Experienced, certified, and trusted. www.EmployerAdvantage.com

 

Employer Advantage has joined the G&A Partners family. Combining forces with this team of trusted and seasoned advisors will help business owners on a much larger scale and with more resources.

EMPLOYER GUIDANCE | New Transparency Requirements Effective July 1 for Businesses Offering Medical and Group Health Plans

EMPLOYER GUIDANCE | New Transparency Requirements Effective July 1 for Businesses Offering Medical and Group Health Plans

As part of Employer Advantage’s comprehensive suite of HR management and outsourcing services (HR, Payroll, Health & Benefits, Safety, and more), we take on the burden of our clients’ employee administration and compliance responsibilities. Please contact us if you would like assistance: Info@EmployerAdvantage.com | 877.476.9520

With an increasingly tight labor market, offering employee medical and group health plans has become a necessity for any employer wanting to attract and retain employees. These already costly benefits are accompanied by complicated government regulations that require employer compliance.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury have released new Transparency in Coverage (TIC) rules that put several additional compliance burdens on group health plan sponsors. Employers must make public disclosures of in-network and out-of-network rates by July 1, 2022.

To meet that deadline, plan sponsors should have already received from their carriers and third-party administrators (TPA) the necessary information in the proper format to comply with the new rules.

Additionally, employers are required to provide “machine readable files” (MRF) that reveal in-network rates, out-of-network charges, and information relating to prescription drug coverage. The first MRF must disclose a plan’s negotiated rates for covered items and services for all in-network providers. The second MRF must show the historical payments and billed charges from out-of-network providers. This file should include at least 20 historical entries to help protect individual participant privacy.

Although most medical insurance companies should be prepared to help businesses meet these requirements, it is still important for an employer who sponsors health plans to make sure the TIC and MRF are in total compliance.

The MRF must include:

  1. Each group medical plan must include the insurer Health Insurance Oversight (HIOS) identifier or, if none, the employer identification number (EIN).
  2. A billing code (e.g., Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code, Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code, Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) code, National Drug Code (NDC), or any other common payer identifier, as well as a plain-language description for each billing code.
  3. The In-Network Rate MRF must show:
  • In-network rates for each item or service provided by in-network providers.
  • Negotiated rates, fee-schedule rates used to determine cost-sharing, or derived amounts-whichever rate is applicable to the plan.
  • The TIC rules allow plan sponsors to contract with a carrier, TPA, or other third party to produce and house the information for a plan.

Be aware it is the employer that will remain responsible for any failures.

 

The Allowed Amount MRF must show:

  1. Out-of-network allowed amounts and billed charges with respect to covered items or services, furnished by out-of-network providers during the 90-day period starting 180 days prior to the MRF publication date.
  2. The plan must omit data for a particular item or service and provider when the plan or insurer would be reporting on payment of out-of-network allowed amounts for fewer than 20 different claims for payment under a single plan or coverage. These amounts must be expressed as dollar amounts and associated with the NPI, Taxpayer Identification Number, and Place of Service Code for each network provider.
  3. Plan sponsors must update the MRFs at least monthly. So, they should establish processes to coordinate regularly with the carrier.
  4. The appropriate departments require the files be posted to a public website that consumers can use without providing individually identifiable information. The website cannot require passwords, account setup, login credentials, or any other barriers to accessing the required information.

In this instance, the insurance carrier will be responsible for any MRF failure required in writing to ensure a plan’s compliance. Employers and insurance carriers should carefully review indemnification provisions in all relevant vendor service agreements.

 

Not currently an Employer Advantage client?

WE’D BE HONORED TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A NEW PATH TO HR BLISS.

We don’t just give quotes—We provide strategic business proposals.

-Free strategic assessment of your business needs

-Quick and easy account setup and seamless transitions

-Urgent requests | Please Call: Toll Free 877.476.9520

 

Click here to see our other helpful “Blog for All Employers”

 

About Employer Advantage

A New Path to HR Bliss – Trusted for more than 30 years, Employer Advantage frees you from the administrative and compliance burdens of having employees so you can focus on your business success. Versatile enough for companies of all sizes, our unique service combines comprehensive management of your employee administration and compliance with the latest software solutions, tailored to meet your individual needs and company culture. Our full-service management of Human Resourcespayrollhealth and benefits, workplace safety, and more enhances your profitability while reducing the costs and risks associated with employment law compliance. We provide your employees with top-notch assistance and benefits that help you increase productivity, save time and money, and attract and retain a talented workforce. And for small and mid-sized businesses, we bring you economy of scale with access to Fortune 500-level benefits, specialty assistance, and savings that would not be possible to attain on your own. Headquartered in the Midwest and serving more than 500 companies and 10,000 worksite employees throughout the country, Employer Advantage is an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO) (CPEO). Experienced, certified, and trusted. www.EmployerAdvantage.com

Employer Advantage has joined the G&A Partners family. Combining forces with this team of trusted and seasoned advisors will help business owners on a much larger scale and with more resources.

EMPLOYER ALERT | Avoiding Discrimination When Using AI-Powered Human Resources Software

EMPLOYER ALERT | Avoiding Discrimination When Using AI-Powered Human Resources Software

As part of Employer Advantage’s comprehensive suite of HR management and outsourcing services (HR, Payroll, Health & Benefits, Safety, and more), we take on the burden of our clients’ employee administration and compliance responsibilities. Please contact us if you would like assistance: Info@EmployerAdvantage.com | 877.476.9520

 

Employers using advancements in Human Resources (HR) software technology tools for hiring, training, and performance evaluations are being warned against relying too heavily on algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) for decision making. Using AI in staffing and performance evaluations could unintentionally lead to discriminatory employment practices, including disability bias.

According to a pair of guidance documents titled Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Disability Discrimination in Hiring issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on May 12, businesses must monitor for bias and provide reasonable accommodations as needed, especially for hiring practices.

In a tight labor market with record job openings, this is unwelcomed news for employers. A majority of companies have turned to technology to help ease staffing burdens. It’s estimated that more than 80% of all employers use some form of AI or algorithms to assist with all types of HR functions.

Guidance to Avoid Noncompliance with the DOJ, EEOC, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

1) Inventory all AI and algorithm-based tools that your company uses for HR functions.

Ensure you are aware of the issues flagged for your software. This is vital, especially in larger companies where the use of these tools may not be well-known.

 

2) Train HR personnel on the software programs and AI being used.

Ensure your HR staff is up to speed on the rule sets for your AI programs so they understand what decisions are being made by the software and what they will need to do to ensure the software can be edited to be compliant.

 

3) Beware of tools that may save time but decrease objectivity.

“The use of these tools may disadvantage job applicants and employees with disabilities,” according to the EEOC, such as:

  • Testing software that scores on personality traits based on other protected characteristics. For example, if your system automatically rejects candidates that live more than 20 miles from the worksite, you may be unintentionally limiting the ethnic and racial diversity of the candidates you consider, depending on the demographics of the area. Or, if the AI tool only allows consideration of applicants from certain schools or minimum education criteria, this may unintentionally screen out diverse candidates with atypical work experience that would otherwise be a fit for the role.
  • Eliminate programs that evaluate facial expressions, speech patterns, and ranks on keystrokes by scanners or monitors. These may prevent ADA-required “reasonable accommodations for all applicants.” Many types of disabilities and hiring technologies may impact each in a different way.
  • Do not accept technology vendors’ claim that their software is “bias free.” Carefully evaluate this software to ensure those with disabilities will not be negatively impacted.

 

4) Also study the guidance to learn what software functions are still accepted for categories such as:  

  • Targeted job advertisements
  • Meeting Job qualifications
  • Online interviews
  • Computer based skill tests
  • Scoring applicant resumes

 

In addition to this federal guidance, state legislatures have also begun to address discrimination issues with algorithms and artificial intelligence. Illinois recently passed the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act. This law imposes strict requirements on employers who use software to analyze video interviews. These requirements include specific notice requirements, limits on information sharing, and strict reporting requirements. The state of Washington is also considering a similar law. Employers can expect many other states and cities to follow suit.

 

Not currently an Employer Advantage client?

WE’D BE HONORED TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A NEW PATH TO HR BLISS.

We don’t just give quotes—We provide strategic business proposals.

-Free strategic assessment of your business needs

-Quick and easy account setup and seamless transitions

-Urgent requests | Please Call: Toll Free 877.476.9520

 

Click here to see our other helpful “Blog for All Employers”

 

About Employer Advantage

A New Path to HR Bliss – Trusted for more than 30 years, Employer Advantage frees you from the administrative and compliance burdens of having employees so you can focus on your business success. Versatile enough for companies of all sizes, our unique service combines comprehensive management of your employee administration and compliance with the latest software solutions, tailored to meet your individual needs and company culture. Our full-service management of Human Resourcespayrollhealth and benefits, workplace safety, and more enhances your profitability while reducing the costs and risks associated with employment law compliance. We provide your employees with top-notch assistance and benefits that help you increase productivity, save time and money, and attract and retain a talented workforce. And for small and mid-sized businesses, we bring you economy of scale with access to Fortune 500-level benefits, specialty assistance, and savings that would not be possible to attain on your own. Headquartered in the Midwest and serving more than 500 companies and 10,000 worksite employees throughout the country, Employer Advantage is an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO) (CPEO). Experienced, certified, and trusted.  www.EmployerAdvantage.com

 

Employer Insights | Employee Mental Health and Workplace Accommodation

Employer Insights | Employee Mental Health and Workplace Accommodation

As part of Employer Advantage’s comprehensive suite of HR management and outsourcing services (HR, Payroll, Health & Benefits, Safety, and more), we take on the burden of our clients’ employee administration and compliance responsibilities. Please contact us if you would like assistance: Info@EmployerAdvantage.com | 877.476.9520

 

As concerns over America’s mental health take center stage, employers find themselves under pressure to lead the charge in social reforms through workplace accommodation.

Employees are the heart and soul of any business venture. The physical and mental health of the workforce is critical to any economic success. Recent studies have shown many employees are struggling with pandemic anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges that have exploded in the past few years.

Accommodation Warning Signs

As employees return to work, many firms are receiving requests to work remotely as an accommodation for their mental or physical disabilities. The increase in mental health discrimination charges is founded largely on employee anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some employees with mental health conditions who have been working from home for almost two years are overwhelmed with anxiety at the prospect of returning to the office. Many employers report seeing an increase in the number of employees asking to work from home on a permanent basis as an accommodation of their mental health conditions.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) recently reported that “approximately 30% of Americans with Disabilities Act-related charges received in 2021 involved employees alleging discrimination based on mental disabilities.”

Because of enhanced scrutiny by the EEOC and state enforcement agencies, an employer must establish that employees cannot perform the essential functions of their job from home if they deny or limit these requests. Keep in mind, many employees have been successfully performing the job from home for two years during COVID.

 

Prepare Your HR Staff

Human resources departments need to be deeply engaged in learning how to assist employees. While managers may be well trained to recognize when an employee may need an accommodation for a physical disability, they may not recognize when an employee expresses that they have a work problem related to a mental health issue that also needs an accommodation.

  1. Determine what resources your company currently has vs. what you will need to address the issues.
  2. Don’t overstep your knowledge base. Seek the help and training that will be necessary to ensure you can handle the identified issues.
  3. Provide resources to help employees cope, including wellness and substance abuse programs.
  4. Engage the workforce about the company’s support of mental health issues to help remove the stigma associated with it.
  5. Develop a culture of caring and kindness to alleviate fears of retribution for this real issue while respecting and protecting employee privacy.

 

 Suggested Actions to Protect Company Liability
  • Train management on the seriousness of accommodation issues.
  • Define the essential functions of all jobs and write the job descriptions with in-person attendance in mind.
  • Consider the elements of the job that will be lost or diminished by at-home work and revise your job descriptions to anticipate accommodation claims.
  • Expect more sick leave, paid leave benefit programs, and expanded state family leave programs across the country. There will also be more employee requests and the use of all benefits accrued.
  • Multi-state employers must expect accommodation compliance obligations and notice requirements. The work-from-home or hybrid option will only complicate this compliance puzzle with most local ordinances applying to where the work is performed, which is now the location of someone’s home, and not where the company office is located.
  • Review your understanding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The volume and complexity of health plan compliance obligations has been steadily growing.
  • Learn the significant new administrative requirements to reduce cost-sharing surprises, as well as various initiatives intended to protect mental health-related benefits that prohibit discrimination.
  • Invest in additional resources to ensure your compliance practices are not exposing you to regulatory and litigation risks. In the past, most employers have relied on insurance carriers and brokers for most of their health plan compliance needs.
Additional Struggles

Every employer must be in tune with what is happening with their workforce, which is what we call the “business of employment.” Add these to your areas of close attention:

Beware of cultural wars spilling into the workplace

The debate will center around three main areas: prohibitions or limitations on the discussion of sexual and gender identity issues in schools; whether to allow transgender girls to play in girls’ sports; and education – including employee training – on race discrimination and implicit bias. Cultural debates can sap the strength from any organization.

Employee compensation dilemmas

Base salary and annual bonus, coupled with a competitive standard benefits package have become mandatory for attracting and retaining key talent. This will only get more challenging as creative companies continue to raise the level of competition in creating more robust compensation packages.

Consider engaging the services of an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO)

Experts feel the volume and complexity of these needs has now reached a tipping point, which has left many businesses on their own. Leaning on a PEO can make all the difference in saving time and money while having all your business’ employee administration and compliance responsibilities expertly managed.

 

Not currently an Employer Advantage client?

WE’D BE HONORED TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A NEW PATH TO HR BLISS.

We don’t just give quotes—We provide strategic business proposals.

-Free strategic assessment of your business needs

-Quick and easy account setup and seamless transitions

-Urgent requests | Please Call: Toll Free 877.476.9520

 

Click here to see our other helpful “Blog for All Employers”

 

About Employer Advantage

A New Path to HR Bliss – Trusted for more than 30 years, Employer Advantage frees you from the administrative and compliance burdens of having employees so you can focus on your business success. Versatile enough for companies of all sizes, our unique service combines comprehensive management of your employee administration and compliance with the latest software solutions, tailored to meet your individual needs and company culture. Our full-service management of Human Resourcespayrollhealth and benefits, workplace safety, and more enhances your profitability while reducing the costs and risks associated with employment law compliance. We provide your employees with top-notch assistance and benefits that help you increase productivity, save time and money, and attract and retain a talented workforce. And for small and mid-sized businesses, we bring you economy of scale with access to Fortune 500-level benefits, specialty assistance, and savings that would not be possible to attain on your own. Headquartered in the Midwest and serving more than 500 companies and 10,000 worksite employees throughout the country, Employer Advantage is an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO) (CPEO). Experienced, certified, and trusted.  www.EmployerAdvantage.com

 

EMPLOYER GUIDANCE | Equal Employment Opportunity Is the Law of the Land

EMPLOYER GUIDANCE | Equal Employment Opportunity Is the Law of the Land

As part of Employer Advantage’s comprehensive suite of HR management and outsourcing services (HR, Payroll, Health & Benefits, Safety, and more), we take on the burden of our clients’ employee administration and compliance responsibilities. Please contact us if you would like assistance: Info@EmployerAdvantage.com | 877.476.9520

At least once a year, each employer in the United States should review the laws regarding equal employment and become familiar with the latest requirements. Failure to abide by current rules and regulations can have disastrous consequences for any business.

Understanding this is especially important with the approaching deadline to file the 2021 EEO-1 Component 1 Report. This mandatory annual data collection of race/ethnicity, sex, and job categories required under section 709(c) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act must be submitted to both the EEOC and U.S. Department of Labor every year. See article EMPLOYER DEADLINE | EEOC Required Workforce Demographic Report Due May 17, 2022.

History of the EEOC and How the Commission Impacts Employers

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency established via the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was created to administer and enforce civil rights laws designed to protect against workplace discrimination.

Although reporting to the EEOC is often limited to large employers, the primary function of the EEOC is to investigate broadly all workplace complaints within three main categories: discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. There are no small business protections against these overall categories.

Within the three main categories are ten specific areas of discrimination that can be investigated: Age, Sex, Disability, Equal Pay, Genetic Information or Family Medical History, Sexual Orientation, National Origin, Race/Color, Pregnancy, and Religion.

 

Small Business Discrimination Provisions

  • If you have at least one employee:You are covered by the law that requires employers to provide equal pay for equal work to male and female employees.
  • If you have 15 to 19 employees:You are covered by the laws that prohibit discrimination based on racecolorreligionsex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origindisability, and genetic information (including family medical history). You are also covered by the law that requires employers to provide equal pay for equal work.
  • If you have 20 or more employees:You are covered by the laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, and genetic information (including family medical history). You are also covered by the law that requires employers to provide equal pay for equal work.

 

The areas covered by the EEOC are wide-ranging and therefore critical for employers to understand.

The extent of harassment and retaliation in the workplace can take on many forms. Sexual harassment is not just limited to one gender and is a major category in which employers should be well versed. Bullying of employees by other employees, not just by managers, also places employers in a position of responsibility. Retaliation is more prevalent than realized.

In addition to the many EEOC considerations, there are State and Local Government Laws that also apply to each business.

 

Not currently an Employer Advantage client?

WE’D BE HONORED TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A NEW PATH TO HR BLISS.

We don’t just give quotes—We provide strategic business proposals.

-Free strategic assessment of your business needs

-Quick and easy account setup and seamless transitions

-Urgent requests | Please Call: Toll Free 877.476.9520

 

Click here to see our other helpful “Blog for All Employers”

 

About Employer Advantage

A New Path to HR Bliss – Trusted for more than 30 years, Employer Advantage frees you from the administrative and compliance burdens of having employees so you can focus on your business success. Versatile enough for companies of all sizes, our unique service combines comprehensive management of your employee administration and compliance with the latest software solutions, tailored to meet your individual needs and company culture. Our full-service management of Human Resourcespayrollhealth and benefits, workplace safety, and more enhances your profitability while reducing the costs and risks associated with employment law compliance. We provide your employees with top-notch assistance and benefits that help you increase productivity, save time and money, and attract and retain a talented workforce. And for small and mid-sized businesses, we bring you economy of scale with access to Fortune 500-level benefits, specialty assistance, and savings that would not be possible to attain on your own. Headquartered in the Midwest and serving more than 500 companies and 10,000 worksite employees throughout the country, Employer Advantage is an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO) (CPEO). Experienced, certified, and trusted.  www.EmployerAdvantage.com