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The Legal and Regulatory Roller Coaster

Here we go: Up and down, around and around. Step right up and hop on the legal and regulatory roller coaster.

PEOs are no strangers to this wild ride, but in times like these, it’s not any less exhilarating, or nauseating, as the case may be.

On the federal level, these measures are currently in flux as the new administration comes in:

  • The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) fiduciary rule;
  • Blacklisting rules and a minimum wage increase for federal contractors;
  • The new overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
  • The applicability of joint employer status to PEOs; and
  • The allocation of client and PEO responsibility for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state rules for recordkeeping obligations and worker safety.

One thing that is not in flux is the new EEO-1 form: The old form had 121 data points, while the new one has 3,360. PEOs should be ready for this new twist, however, because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for the first time will use analytics software to identify indicators of potential discrimination on the front end.

On the state level, the rules in the states and local jurisdictions remain a jumble. State licensing and registration laws offer a mix and match variety of provisions addressing everything from direction and control to hiring and firing and treatment of taxes to benefits payments. Human resources and employment laws, governing things such as “ban the box” rules and paid sick leave, can vary down to the local level. Proposals designed to raise revenue, which affect PEOs, are on the rise among the states.

Finally, two PEO execs offer their experience keeping up with and navigating issues in the states, which may make your journey a bit smoother.

So, hang on, and don’t be surprised if by the end of the ride things have changed again.

Know More


Legal Currents

The 2017 EEOC Strategic Enforcement Plan

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) could have a significant impact on how PEOs interact with clients in the future. Every few years, the EEOC publishes a new (or revises a current) SEP, which outlines its enforcement strategies and substantive priorities for federal anti-discrimination laws in the private, public, and federal employment sectors. 

Human Resources

Policies for Pets in the Workplace

PEO clients look to their human resources experts to create innovative ways to help build a progressive culture and provide attractive employee benefits. Whether it is given as a perk or used as a recruitment tool, one trend that is finding traction is allowing pets in the workplace. According to a 2016 employee benefits research report1 from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), 7 percent of employers allow pets in the workplace. Businesses that allow furry friends tend to have creative, open working environments with a corporate culture that places an emphasis on employee satisfaction.


Developing a Marketing Culture

Marketing is not rocket science, but it does have a lot of moving parts and the potential to make your company look unprofessional, inconsistent, or just plain confusing if it’s not done well. It takes a long time to create, promote, and establish your logo, tagline, and “voice,” so it’s wise to invest in protecting these items as part of your company’s image and communications.


Streamlining the PEO Licensing Process

Growing PEOs looking to register or become licensed in multiple states face a patchwork of different rules in the states. Imagine having a health issue that requires you to go to many different specialists in addition to your primary care physician. Every time you see a doctor, you have to complete more forms, fill in your insurance information, and provide your medical history, again. Many of the questions ask pretty much the same thing, with slightly different wording, but for every doctor you see, you’ve got to repeat all those steps.

Start-up Guide


If you are old enough to remember Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s (back when it was funny), the “Weekend Update” segment was hosted by comedic geniuses Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin. In that segment, Chase and Curtin frequently performed a point/counterpoint skit in which Jane Curtin would give her opinion about a subject. Chase would begin his rebuttal to her point with, “Jane, you ignorant _ _ _ _ (derogatory term rhyming with rut).” Of course, Jane would respond, “Dan, you pompous _ _ _ (word rhyming with bass (mmm, delicious bass). In the February 2017 issue of PEO Insider, my friend and well-respected PEO attorney John Polson penned an article called, “A Lawyer’s Letter to the New PEO Salesperson.” It is an excellent article, available to NAPEO members at John has an enormous cranium, he is much smarter than I am, and he is one of the most practical attorneys I know. With John’s permission and a little fun in mind, this is my counterpoint—my addition to John’s fine work.


The Inside Word

The Potential to Transform our Industry

Each year, NAPEO invites its leaders to gather for a retreat to plan for the future of NAPEO and, to a large degree, the industry in general. This year, the Board of Directors and the Leadership Council chairs gathered in Denver, Colorado.

NAPEO Notebook

Texas Leadership Council and Board of Directors Meeting and Retreat Patrick J. Cleary

The last month has found me on the road again (cue Willie Nelson), beginning in Willie’s adopted home town of Austin for our Texas Leadership Council Forum (LCF). We always get a good turnout in Texas and this meeting was no exception, with 50 or so NAPEO members in attendance. Our Texas members have worked to develop a good relationship with the regulators there and with many of the state legislators, the lieutenant governor, and the governor. We always have someone from state government come speak to us. This time, we had Mary Winston of the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration (TDLR), standing in for Executive Director Brian Francis, who was called to the legislature at the last minute—the perils of meeting while the legislature is in session. (The Texas legislature, by the way, meets for six months every two years.)

Capitol Comment

NAPEO Capitol Hill Day Becomes PEO Advocacy Day in 2017 Thom Stohler

NAPEO always dedicates a day of the annual PEO Capitol Summit to visiting Capitol Hill. These visits help build relationships with Members of Congress and their staffs, and educate them about the PEO industry and its impact on their districts and/or states. The PEO industry has a great story to tell Congress about the benefits the PEO industry brings to small and midsized companies and their employees, and these visits are the best means of delivering that message.

NAPEO Advisor

I-9 Temporary Glitch; No More ‘Volks,’ Folks; Auto-Enroll IRAs Update Farrah L. Fielder, Esq.

Q. Has there been a problem with the new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification? I heard something about a glitch. A. Yes, and it would be wise to double check any Form I-9 that was downloaded between November 14 and November 17, 2016. The Form I-9 that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) initially posted on November 14, 2016, contained a computer glitch that caused numbers within the Social Security Number field to be transposed when employees completed and printed Section 1 on a computer.

PEO Spotlight

Cognos HR: Bob Cerone Chris Chaney

Sometimes just a small spark ignites a big fire. For Bob Cerone, CEO of Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois-based Cognos HR, the spark was a few quotes by T. Joe Willey on employee leasing in a U.S. News and World Report article. The fire has been a two-decade-plus career of founding and running two successful PEOs.

The Big Picture

Optimism Soars for Midsize Businesses Thomas J. Donohue

Midsize businesses are a critical component of our economy, providing nearly 40 million jobs and 40 percent of America’s GDP. They are yesterday’s small businesses and tomorrow’s Fortune 500 success stories. To get a better sense of what Washington can do to help them grow, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with RSM—a leading tax and accounting company—to produce the quarterly Middle Market Business Index.

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