PEOs Have Much to Offer Growing Businesses

I personally love reading articles from the past and comparing them to the present time. Below is an article published in Inc Magazine on August 30th, 2017.

I believe many of the factors stated in this article are still very relevant. PEO’s are still looked over from businesses as they are not educated on what a PEO can offer. In 2017 there were 907 operating PEO in the United States and with the rise of new PEO’s with specialty niches coming along there is a PEO for everyone.

Tips for choosing a PEO:

  • Determine your business’s HR and risk management needs, and narrow your candidate list to PEOs that can meet them.
  • Ascertain the financial strength and security of the PEO candidate. Its financial statements should be independently audited by a CPA; risk management practices should be independently certified; and operational, financial, and ethical practices should be independently accredited.
  • Meet the people who will be serving you, and ask for client and professional references.
  • Understand the PEO’s benefits plan options. Analyze the PEO’s service and cost structures

Professional employer organizations (PEOs) offer a stunning array of potential benefits to small and midsize businesses (SMBs), especially those in growth mode. Research commissioned by the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) documents that PEO clients grow faster, have lower rates of employee turnover, and have higher rates of business survival than their peers. Businesses that use a PEO gain a competitive advantage in attracting the best employees. Often, PEOs allow them to offer a higher level of benefits than they would be able to afford on their own. Most importantly, offloading responsibility for HR, payroll, benefits, workers’ compensation, and other administrative tasks to a PEO frees up leaders to focus more of their time and energy on their core competencies and strategic issues. “With a single stroke of the pen, the owner of a small or midsize business can dramatically improve the odds of his or her success,” says Richard G. Rawson, president of Houston-based Insperity. “That’s what a PEO does.” When a business signs on with a full-service PEO, it gains an “instantaneous HR infrastructure that provides a significant amount of administrative relief.”

Lack of awareness of PEOs The PEO model has been around for some 30 years, but for all PEOs have to offer, there is still a surprising lack of awareness about them among many businesses. NAPEO’s research shows that 14-16 percent of businesses with 10-99 employees currently partner with a PEO, but many more could benefit from doing so. “Raising awareness of PEOs and what they can do for growing businesses is our top priority at NAPEO,” says Pat Cleary, the association’s president and CEO. “Business owners who weren’t aware of PEOs are often astounded when they hear about the advantages PEOs can provide. So much so, in fact, that one of the first questions they often ask is, ‘Is it legal?’” Unlike other types of outsourced services providers, PEOs enter into a relationship called “co-employment” with their clients. Under that arrangement, employees work for both the client business and the PEO. As the co-employer, the PEO manages all personnel-related functions, such as wage and benefits administration, workers’ compensation, etc., filing under its own tax employee identification number (EIN). The client company maintains control of all business decisions and operations. That’s been a difficult concept for some business owners to grasp, but a recent development may help on that front. Beginning June 1 of this year, the IRS began issuing Certified Professional Employer Organization designations to PEOs that complete a certification process laid out in the Small Business Efficiency Act.

A stamp of legitimacy The CPEO designation adds a stamp of legitimacy to the industry because it formalizes the IRS’s recognition of the co-employment model. It protects PEO clients by explicitly stating the CPEO’s sole liability on wages paid to worksite employees. It provides CPEOs with successor employer status for federal payroll taxes, eliminating the potential for double taxation of FICA and FUTA when a business signs up partway through a tax year. It also clarifies businesses’ continued eligibility for specified federal tax credits while using CPEO services. “Certification is another arrow in the quiver to answer the ‘is it legal’ question,” Cleary says. “Now we can tell a CEO to go online and Google section 3511 of the tax code. That’s us; we’re in the code.” The Employer Services Assurance Program (ESAC), which was developed by NAPEO and launched in 1995 as an independent, nonprofit organization, is another PEO accreditation program, and it is more comprehensive than CPEO. Through a program of bonding and regular financial audits, ESAC provides assurance of a PEO’s performance across all its employer responsibilities, including federal and state employment taxes, contributions to employee retirement plans, and payment of health and workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

A PEO for every need There are many different types of PEOs. Some have national or regional operations; others work within a single state. Some even focus on specific industries, such as Execustaff HR, a San Jose, California-based PEO that specializes in Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry. “Our clients are generally startups or early-stage tech and professional companies that want to attract highly-skilled employees from established companies. They need a Fortune 500-level benefits package to do that, but it’s hard to get at that size,” says Jason Mann, Execustaff HR’s president. The PEO provides a “plug-and-play” platinum-tier benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, disability, 401(k) plan, and more. “Our companies can put those things in their offer letters and attract the top talent. That’s one of the biggest advantages we offer them.” Bison PEO, based in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, works at the other end of the employment spectrum. “We have niche markets that we focus on,” says founder, president, and CEO Wesley Owens. “We’ve worked in staffing, agriculture, trucking, and construction, so we’ve done some of the industries that are a little more challenging to some of the larger PEOs.” Bison works closely with a third-party administrator to manage workers’ compensation claims and help control costs. “That’s very important to growing businesses in the sectors we serve,” he says. Insperity, one of the first in the industry to attain CPEO status, has 61 offices across the U.S. and more than 2,600 corporate employees. It serves 100,000-plus businesses with more than 2 million employees. “Our competitive differentiators have to do with the breadth and depth of our products and services and the level of care we provide,” Rawson says. Insperity started out by creating and delivering a service, and it developed a very customer-centric culture, Rawson says. “Today, we also provide an industry-leading technology platform, but we apply the same customer-centric service approach to that aspect of our business. We understand that every worksite employee is a key asset to that business, and we treat every one of them like our own.”

An “MBA on steroids” Partnering with the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business, Insperity has created a certification program for its Business Performance Advisers that Rawson describes as “like an MBA on steroids.” The curriculum focuses on providing a thorough command of the success drivers for small and midsize businesses, from top-line sales growth to bottom-line profits. Business Performance Advisers who complete the program enhance their expertise to offer impactful guidance on strategic business decisions to Insperity’s clients. Clearly is convinced that growth-oriented businesses will partner with PEOs in increasing numbers as awareness of the advantages PEOs offer continues to spread. “Time is finite, and every hour you spend on a non-core activity like HR administration is time away from growing your company,” he says. “We have all this research that shows PEO clients grow faster, have higher survival rates, and experience less employee turnover. Outsourcing of everything that’s not core to your business is a global trend, and that’s going to drive PEO growth.”

10 Cyber Security Resolutions to Reduce Your Data Exposures

Cyber security threats and trends can change year over year as technology continues to advance at alarming speeds. As such, it’s critical for organizations to reassess their data protection practices at the start of each new year and make achievable cyber security resolutions to help protect themselves from costly breaches.

The following are resolutions your company can implement to ensure you don’t become the victim of a cyber crime:

  1. Provide security training—Employees are your first line of defense when it comes to cyber threats. Even the most robust and expensive data protection solutions can be compromised should an employee click a malicious link or download fraudulent software. As such, it’s critical for organizations to thoroughly train personnel on common cyber threats and how to respond. Employees should understand the dangers of visiting harmful websites, leaving their devices unattended and oversharing personal information on social media. Your employees should also know your cyber security policies and know how to report suspicious activity.
  2. Install strong anti-virus software and keep it updated—Outside of training your employees on the dangers of poor cyber security practices, strong anti-virus software is one of the best ways to protect your data. Organizations should conduct thorough research to choose software that’s best for their needs. Once installed, anti-virus programs should be kept up to date.
  3. Instill safe web browsing practices—Deceptive and malicious websites can easily infect your network, often leading to more serious cyber attacks. To protect your organization, employees should be trained on proper web usage and instructed to only interact with secured websites. For further protection, companies should consider blocking known threats and potentially malicious webpages outright.
  4. Create strong password policies—Ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your organization’s password-protected information. Effective password management protects the integrity, availability and confidentiality of an organization’s passwords. Above all, you’ll want to create a password policy that specifies all of the organization’s requirements related to password management. This policy should require employees to change their password on a regular basis, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and use special characters in their password.
  5. Use multi-factor authentication—While complex passwords can help deter cyber criminals, they can still be cracked. To further prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to employee accounts, multi-factor authentication is key. Multi-factor authentication adds a layer of security that allows companies to protect against compromised credentials. Through this method, users must confirm their identity by providing extra information (e.g., a phone number, unique security code) when attempting to access corporate applications, networks and servers.
  6. Get vulnerability assessments—The best way to evaluate your company’s data exposures is through a vulnerability assessment. Using a system of simulated attacks and stress tests, vulnerability assessments can help you uncover entry points into your system. Following these tests, security experts compile their findings and provide recommendations for improving network and data safety.
  7. Patch systems regularly and keep them updated—A common way cyber criminals gain entry into your system is by exploiting software vulnerabilities. To prevent this, it’s critical that you update applications, operating systems, security software and firmware on a regular basis.
  8. Back up your data—In the event that your system is compromised, it’s important to keep backup files. Failing to do so can result in the loss of critical business or proprietary data.
  9. Understand phishing threats and how to respond—In broad terms, phishing is a method cyber criminals use to gather personal information. In these scams, phishers send an email or direct users to fraudulent websites, asking victims to provide sensitive information. These emails and websites are designed to look legitimate and trick individuals into providing credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, usernames or other sensitive information. Phishing is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and it’s more important than ever to understand the different types of attacks, how to identify them and preventive measures you can implement to keep your organization safe. As such, it’s critical to train employees on common phishing scams and other cyber security concerns. Provide real-world examples during training to help them better understand what to look for.
  10. Create an incident response plan—Most organizations have some form of data protection in place. While these protections are critical for minimizing the damages caused by a breach, they don’t provide clear action steps following an attack. That’s where cyber incident response plans can help. While cyber security programs help secure an organization’s digital assets, cyber incident response plans provide clear steps for companies to follow when a cyber event occurs. Response plans allow organizations to notify impacted customers and partners quickly and efficiently, limiting financial and reputational damages.

Brokers Briefcase 2019- Libertate

ACORD Form 130- Ceasing Disability and Age Questions

Should Disability and Age Questions be removed from the Acord-130 forms? That is the question California has. Is it violating discrimination laws? What are you thoughts?



Date:  November 14, 2018
Subject: Request to Cease Collecting Responses to Questions Regarding Disability and Age on ACORD Form 130

The Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) promulgated Form 130 (2013/09) (Form 130) for use by insurers and producers as an application for workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Form 130 requests employer applicants to respond to several questions including the following:

If used for rating purposes, the information elicited by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 would violate Insurance Code section 11735, subdivision (d) that provides:
Notwithstanding Section 679.70, no rating organization may issue, nor may any insurer use, any classification system or rate, as applied or used, that violates Section 679.71 or 679.72 or that violates the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Insurance Code section 679.72 provides that no application for insurance used by an insurer to determine the insurability of an applicant shall carry any identification, or any requirement therefor, of any characteristic listed or defined in subdivision (b) of Section 51 of the Civil Code with respect to the applicant. The characteristics listed or defined in Civil Code section 51 (b) include, but are not limited to, ‘disability,’ and ‘medical condition.’ Even though the Unruh Act (Cal Civil Code §51 et seq.) does not delineate ‘age’ as a prohibited characteristic, the Unruh Act may be applicable in situations in which business establishments make classifications based on age. Moreover, employers may violate California’s anti-discrimination laws if they ask their employees to provide the information sought by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130.

The information collected on Form 130 is shared with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for the purpose of its research on statistics relating to workers’ compensation policies from states that participate in its data collection program. California is not, however, a NCCI participating state and the NCCI does not use data collected from California for its research. Additionally, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) does not use the data collected in response to questions 10 and 13 on Form 130, and since 1994 the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) has instructed interested parties not to collect responses to questions 10 and 13 on Form 130. As a result, the information requested by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 is not used by the various rating agencies that generally analyze country-wide workers’ compensation data or that specifically analyze California workers’ compensation data.

Although the continued use of Form 130 in California generally is not objectionable, because the information requested by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 is not utilized by the NCCI, the WCIRB or SCIF and California employers may violate the State’s anti-discrimination laws by requesting such information from their employees, insurers, agents and brokers are encouraged not to collect answers to questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 and for California employers to refrain from seeking such information from their employees.

Questions regarding this Notice should be directed to

Recent Fraud Scheme Targeting PEOs

Alert for all members in the PEO industry.

A company purporting to be Teak Transport out of Ohio has recently scammed or attempted to scam multiple PEOs across the United States. Please be vigilant in your prospect review process.

Here are a few basic suggestions to help you protect against fraud.

  1. Beware of prospects who are pressing you to provide your services (especially payroll only) ASAP.
  2. Take time to research the prospective client, the company, and the employees. Make sure to research the business entity with the Secretary of State where the business is located. Google is your friend.
  3. Require secured funds for payroll payments from new clients. Wire transfers are a commonly used method in the industry.
  4. Set up a call with the bank and the client (and get the contact information for the bank from a source other than the client).
  5. Consider requiring an up-front deposit or onboarding fee.
  6. Beware of prospects who are unwilling to participate in a face-to-face meeting.
  7. Pay card requests for an entire workforce are suspicious, too.
  8. Educate your employees on the process within your PEO on vetting prospects. Make sure to have a gatekeeper who monitors the prospects/new “clients” and understands the warning signs of suspicious behavior.

If you are a target of a scam, please consider making a complaint to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3). IC3 ensures access to the complaints by all of the FBI’s field offices, which is important when victims are across the U.S. The website is

Be on the lookout for further best practices from NAPEO. If you would like to discuss this or any fraud perpetrated against your PEO, please contact

Engage PEO Named 2018 Fast 50 Honoree by the South Florida Business Journal

(MENAFN Editorial) Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA — Engage PEO, a professional employer organization providing HR outsourcing solutions to small and mid-sized businesses across the U.S., was recently honored as one of South Florida Business Journal’s 2018 Fast 50, recognizing the region’s 50 fastest-growing private companies. The official award ceremony and celebration will take place on Thursday, August 16 in Miami.

Companies recognized with this honor have demonstrated significant growth in the past three years. The Fast 50 is a compilation of two Top 25 lists: one for companies with more than $25 million in annual revenue, and one for companies with less than $25 million in annual revenue.

“Joining the ranks of the South Florida Business Journal’s Fast 50 is a clear indication of our unparalleled industry growth and expertise, which translates to strong client relationships and sustained business growth,” said Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO. “We are proud to be listed amongst the fastest growing businesses in South Florida, and will continue to provide personalized human resource and compliance solutions so our clients can then focus on what truly matters: thriving.”

Engage was also named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list in 2016 and 2017; over the course of the last four years, no PEO has grown faster. Additionally, Engage recently received another distinction from the Internal Revenue Service that recognizes the company as one of the first professional employer organizations in the U.S. to earn “Certified Professional Employer Organization” status. This new designation ensures greater benefits for small and mid-sized businesses, such as tax advantages and financial protections.

About Engage PEO
Engage PEO delivers comprehensive HR solutions to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide, sharpening their competitive advantage. Comprised of the industry’s most respected veteran professional employer organization executives, certified HR professionals and attorneys, Engage PEO provides hands-on, expert HR services and counsel to help clients minimize cost and maximize efficiency for stronger business performance. The company’s superior service offering includes a full range of health and workers’ compensation insurance products, payroll technology and tax administration, risk management services and advanced technology as part of an extensive suite of HR services. Engage PEO was recently awarded the designation of Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO) by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), ensuring greater benefits for small and mid-sized businesses such as tax advantages and financial protections. Engage PEO is also accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation. In 2016 and 2017, Engage PEO was named to Inc. magazine’s list of the 5000 fastest growing companies. For more information on Engage PEO visit

The IRS does not endorse any particular certified professional employer organization. For more information on certified professional employer organizations go to

Contact Information


  • Name: Sloane FistelCompany: rbb Communications for Engage PEO
  • Telephone: 305-249-1171