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A Fresh Look at the Ever-Changing PEO Space

The PEO landscape is constantly changing. PEOs, however, are used to it—it’s been changing since day one, and PEOs are proficient at navigating the ups and downs of the space where they operate. What is certain is that these changes always conspire to make the PEO industry interesting.

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Legal Currents

Working OSHA’s Final Rule into Your CSA

Few things bring as much stress to the management team of a PEO as revising their client service agreements (CSAs). The document is typically treated with the reverence of the Magna Carta by general counsel and with disdain by the sales team. Adding to the misery is the constant creation of new and exciting legal changes that test how your company will respond to those challenges.

Human Resources

Alternatives to the Dreaded Formal Performance Appraisal

My kids play a fun game called “Would You Rather?” In this game, you are asked revealing questions about whether you would prefer to, for example, be rich and ugly or be poor and beautiful. I would like to come up with one specifically for human resources. One of the first questions I would pose would be something like, “Would you rather do annual performance reviews for your team, or have all of your teeth pulled?” No, I am not actually advocating self-harm as a way to avoid reality. We had the election for that!


Changes in Safe Harbor Elections

Under general nondiscrimination rules, benefits, or contributions to tax-qualified plans under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (Code), such as 401(k) plans, must be nondiscriminatory in amount. Section 401(k) plans satisfy this requirement if elective contributions, including Roth 401(k) contributions made on behalf of highly compensated employees (HCEs) for a year, satisfy the actual deferral percentage (ADP) test. A similar actual contributions percentage (ACP) test applies to matching contributions and traditional after-tax contributions pursuant to Code Section 401(m).


Dancing with Objections

As salespeople, we need to be prepared for objections in every phase of the sales process. Overcoming objections while prospecting is most important—no appointment, no sale. You best be prepared, because you are going to receive objections. Get over it—you’re in sales!


The Inside Word

Great Strides, Collaborative Focus Greg Packer, 2017 NAPEO Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, AccessPoint, Farmington Hills, Michigan

Our industry has made great strides and experienced tremendous growth since our beginnings in the early 1980s. In recent years, we have had some public disagreements on policy that, in my humble opinion, could have and should have been avoided. This may come as a surprise, but we are not the first industry comprising companies with divergent opinions. Most other mature industries recognize that public disagreements, especially related to legislative policy, damage the overall industry perception and almost always ensure legislative failure.

NAPEO Notebook

Autumn Travels and Getting Ready for 2017 Patrick J. Cleary

I was thinking of Austin’s favorite son, Willie Nelson, when I was there in October for our Texas Leadership Council Forum (LCF)—“On the road again.” Travel is a necessary part of my job and as I’ve said in this space before, it’s the fun part of my job. There’s just no substitute for that face-to-face interaction with members in (as I like to say) their natural habitat.

Statehouse Update

A Successful State Government Affairs Game Plan Nichole Westin

It’s after work and I’m deep into researching my offensive line for my fantasy football team. This week, I’m matched against a cousin, and the urge to crush her is strong. As I research and weigh wide receivers, I note there are striking similarities between plotting a winning fantasy team and laying the groundwork for a successful state policy plan. For both, a successful game plan is pulled together from past experiences, intel developed from research and conversations, and sometimes just going with your gut. To build the NAPEO playbook, AKA the State Government Affairs Action Plan, NAPEO relies not only on our own knowledge, but also on that of our members, including members of the State Government Affairs Committee and state Leadership Councils.

NAPEO Advisor

WC Report, I-9 Revision, W-2 SSA Deadline Farrah L. Fielder, Esq.

Q. There has been a lot of talk in the last year about a push for the federalization of state workers’ compensation systems. Are there any status updates on that? A. Yes. On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) hosted The State Workers’ Compensation Forum to discuss the Department of Labor’s report, “Does the Workers’ Compensation System Fulfill its Obligations to Injured Workers” (, which focuses on failures of the workers’ compensation system to provide injured workers with adequate benefits

Small Business Perspective

Independent Businesses are Being Forced to Shut their Doors Because of Rising Commercial Rents

Home sweet home? Not so fast. Rising commercial rental rates are crushing small businesses in many U.S. cities, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s (ILSR’s) “Affordable Space” report ( For example, over the last year, rates have increased by 12 percent in Cleveland, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 26 percent in Charleston, South Carolina. Other cities seeing major increases: Nashville, Tennessee (19 percent), Oakland, California (16 percent), and Portland, Maine (22 percent).

PEO Spotlight

Justworks, Inc.: Isaac Oates Chris Chaney

If it’s just before 11 o’clock in the morning on a Thursday, you can bet that every employee at New York City-based Justworks is headed to the weekly “all hands.” Gatherings help satisfy the yearning curiosity of many of his millennial employees. Oates describes his employees as being “allergic to boundaries,” and desiring to understand how the whole company works. The topics discussed at each “all hands” vary, but each week his employees walk away having learned something they did not know before. And that’s the goal.

The Big Picture

Remedies for Our Ailing Healthcare System Thomas J. Donohue

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has taken some high-profile hits from both parties in recent weeks—and for good reason. Rising premiums are stretching family budgets to their breaking points. Costs and compliance headaches continue to mount for businesses. Prominent insurers have had to scale down Obamacare coverage options or pull out of the exchanges entirely. Fewer choices and even higher costs now await the millions who participated in open enrollment starting on November 1.


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