Letter from the NAPEO Chair
THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF PEOS DURING COVID
One year ago, COVID was still relatively new in our country. Each day, new information was provided to help keep us safe. We stayed home, wore masks, and washed our hands to protect our own health, as well as the health of others. What began as something foreign and remote has now become familiar and normal. Last March, I did not know anyone who had been diagnosed with COVID; now I know many people who have been sick, been hospitalized, and even some who have passed away. It has been a difficult time that has impacted all of us in one way or another.
On the front line of this pandemic have been the doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers. Others have risked their health as well, including grocery store personnel, public transportation workers, teachers, and law enforcement. PEOs may not be considered to be on the front line, but as always, we have been handling the back office so the American economy can move forward during this difficult time. The pandemic has been a reminder of the advantages that a PEO relationship provides to small and mid-sized businesses. We have been there for our clients as new laws and regulations were passed. We have helped our clients transition their workforces to remote offices, handled COVID-related leaves, and applied for both Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans and their forgiveness. We have consulted with our clients about tax credits, personal protective equipment, and vaccination options. Most importantly, we have been there for our clients with check-ins to see how they have been faring and how their families are feeling, and unfortunately, we have grieved with our clients as well.
This year has certainly been a lesson in the importance of health and how quickly things can change. PEOs have an important role in the health of our worksite employees. Through access to PEO benefits plans, smaller businesses are able to provide employees with affordable and rich benefits. While major medical plans are a focus for employers, additional benefits such as disability insurance, life insurance, and employee assistant programs (EAPs) have provided individuals with an increased level of security during a very troubled time.
I know first-hand the work that our own team has provided to our clients and their employees during this tumultuous year. PEOs everywhere have made a real impact and been champions in their own way for small business and the individuals they employ. At last count, PEOs provide services to more than 175,000 small and mid-sized businesses, employing more than 3.7 million people. Wow! Think about it—3.7 million individuals counted on us for their paychecks, their health benefits, and their questions surrounding everything from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to unemployment. The PEO impact extends beyond these individuals and to their families as well. Our industry may not have been on the front line, but we have certainly been there to support our nation’s workforce during this time of need. I have never been prouder to be a part of this wonderful industry.
LEE C. YARBOROUGH
2020-2021 NAPEO Chair
Greenville, South Carolina