The more time you spend managing employee issues, the less time you have to run your business. But ignoring your employee-related responsibilities could cause a rift in your workforce and create potentially costly legal battles.
Fortunately, many of these concerns can be alleviated by outsourcing to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO).
Here are six scenarios where a PEO can come in handy.
1. Your simple employee relations issue just escalated.
You’ve mentioned several times in passing to Joe’s supervisor that Joe seems to be late to work often, and you’ve seen no improvement. Other employees are now complaining that Joe is very careless around equipment in the warehouse. You’re not sure what to do now to correct the situation and keep yourself out of legal hot water.
A PEO can provide help on how to handle disciplinary situations and take the appropriate steps to correct them, including verbal counseling and proper written documentation.
But disciplinary issues aren’t the only thing it can help you with. A PEO can help you limit your liability by making sure other employee-related concerns are handled properly, including:
- Safety – From office safety and ergonomics to hazard identification that can reduce exposure and potential loss, the safety team can help you evaluate your current situation and offer practical solutions.
- Workers’ compensation – These specialists will guide you through the process surrounding work-related injuries, including monitoring the claim and assisting injured workers return to work as quickly as possible.
- Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) – You can get help with charges of discrimination and harassment, including drafting responses to government agencies, gathering the necessary information and deciding how each charge should be handled to minimize your financial risks and business liability.
2. An employee requests leave.
There are a myriad of leaves now available to employees and just as many laws and regulations that surround them. Before you deny a leave or decide this isn’t an issue you’ll ever deal with, you should be aware that you may have employees who may be entitled to a leave under state or federal law for such things as:
- Family and Medical leave
- Victims of Crime leave
- Family Military leave
- First Responder leave
- Bone Marrow Donation leave
- Organ Donor leave
And these are just a few of the current available leaves of absence, depending on state and federal laws and regulations. Fortunately, PEOs monitor available leaves of absence and the state and federal laws and regulations surrounding them, so that both you and your employees comply with applicable law and employees receive what they’re entitled to.
When you work with a PEO, you’ll be assigned a leave specialist who will monitor the length of your employees’ leaves and the status of their return to work. This specialist is particularly valuable if you’re a multi-state employer. A PEO can help navigate multiple state and federal laws and regulations to keep you in compliance in every state where you have employees.
3. You need to track COBRA elections, eligibility and payments.
As an employer, you’re required to track whether your former employees or employees on an extended leave of absence, are making COBRA payments, to send written notice if payments are late or missed, and to stay informed on how long COBRA coverage continues for affected employees.
Your PEO can help manage administration of COBRA benefits for employees who qualify. Moreover, they will help ensure compliance, saving you time, headaches and limiting potential liability.
4. You aren’t sure what background checks are permissible.
How familiar are you with laws and regulations surrounding background checks? Do you know if your state allows use of criminal checks, and for how many years previous to the check? Does your state allow you to look at a candidate’s credit and use that score in determining employability?
PEOs usually employ recruiting and employment screening professionals who keep up on the ever-changing industry laws. They can provide you with the guidance you need to make your recruiting and pre-employment screening practices more proficient and cost effective.
5. You’re terminating an employee and you don’t want to pay vacation hours.
Have you studied your state laws lately? Does your state consider vacation pay to be “wages” that must be paid to an employee upon separation from employment?
Do you know when you must pay an employee who has voluntarily left employment versus when an employee is involuntarily terminated?
Fortunately, your PEO specialist does know what is required in your state and will advise you on what you need to do to avoid potential liability and remain compliant.
6. Your managers aren’t following company policies.
All of the policies you create for your company are for naught if your managers don’t follow them when conducting their daily responsibilities. They must understand your rationale for policies, their roles in policy administration, and the consequences for failure to carry out those roles. Failure to do so creates the possibility of multiple liabilities, from employee complaints and dissatisfaction to lawsuits against your company.
When you work with a PEO, your get access to HR specialists who can help you train supervisors on key policy issues, such as sexual harassment awareness, anti-harassment policies, workplace violence prevention, interviewing techniques, performance appraisal skills, substance abuse prevention and effective employee counseling.
They can also help you develop an employee handbook that outlines company policies and clearly communicates performance expectations.
But that’s not all a PEO can do. Click here to learn what else Insperity can do to help your company run better.