PEO Insider® published my article, “Key Data Privacy and Security Issues for PEOs,” in its May 2010 issue. That article discussed data security best practices such as risk assessments, vendor management protocols, and developing incident response plans, all of which were important then and continue to be critically important today. Since then, there have been many data privacy and cybersecurity developments and trends that are important to consider to continually inform a PEO’s policies, procedures, and practices.
Today’s PEOs use the services of many different types of vendors in conducting their day-to-day business. It is incumbent for PEOs to be sure these vendors are taking the same or even more extensive safeguards as they do in the protection of their own corporate information as well as the personal and private information of their client companies and worksite employees.
Many of us who have been in the PEO industry for much of the past two decades, or longer, have always had one common complaint: We wanted to be larger and be taken more seriously in the business markets here in the U.S. However, with growing fame and fortune come attention from groups and individuals we really do not want to engage with or get attention from. Fraudsters have begun to target our industry in just the past few years and, as of 2021, we are clearly on the radar of some very large groups that do not mean to do us well.
Fraud in business takes many shapes and forms, but can most accurately be put into two very large silos: cybercrime/fraud and all other. Cybercrime/fraud is criminal activity that uses the Internet to target computers, computer networks, or networked devices.The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines all other business fraud as “consisting of dishonest and illegal activities perpetrated by individuals or businesses to provide an advantageous financial outcome for those persons or businesses.” This definition certainly could (and does) include cyber fraud, but there are so many non-cyber business fraud schemes that “all other” becomes a good catch-all way of defining it.
It started off with the best of intentions. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), as well as individual states, increased weekly unemployment benefits and expanded eligibility during the COVID pandemic, with the ultimate goal of getting impacted workers, including some workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits, increased payments as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filings was an unintended consequence. Increased benefits, relaxed eligibility requirements, lower scrutiny of claims, and antiquated state unemployment systems left states vulnerable to criminal fraudsters worldwide.
It seems like every time we turn on the TV or read the latest news, we hear about the latest crisis affecting people and businesses. Whether it is a natural disaster, a pandemic, workplace violence, or a cyberattack, the threats are real and affect us all. So many of us think, “This could never happen to my business,” and fail to plan accordingly.
Not long ago, disaster-related events were pretty much synonymous with severe weather and geographic power/network failures caused by a misguided backhoe. In the last 12 months, however, we’ve experienced first-hand the chaos a pandemic and cybercriminals can wreak on our operational capabilities, quickly changing the way we think about the resiliency of our mission-critical systems. Surviving a large-scale service interruption is no longer something we can just worry about late at night, hoping it will never happen. Investing our time and resources to plan for an eventual disaster is something we are obligated to do.
In preparation for NAPEO’s May Board of Directors Meeting, I packed a bag, hopped on an airplane, and flew to Washington, D.C. The feeling I had was one of jubilation—I felt like a normal person! Traveling for business felt exciting, new, and almost decadent. Although the full board meeting was virtual, I conducted the meeting from the NAPEO office in Alexandria, Virginia. I had a chance to visit with the team and learn about the current work they are performing for our members. We concluded the meeting with a nice dinner and time to catch up and connect.
JUSTWORKS FOUR-TIME GREAT PLACE TO WORK • A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP • REDUCING VIDEOCONFERENCE FATIGUE • PROPEL HR CELEBRATES 25 YEARS • SPOTTING & MITIGATING EMPLOYEE BURNOUT• TOP EMPLOYEE CONCERNS ABOUT RETURNING TO THE WORKPLACE • NEW TECHNOLOGY • NAPEO GOES LIVE
“Oklahoma Property Company Enters Personnel Field,” read the headline of an article that appeared in the August 1, 1993, edition of The Sunday Oklahoman. Price-Edwards & Co., a very large commercial property management company, had recently launched a new company dedicated to staff leasing. The nexus between property management and staff leasing was employing people. Price Edwards recognized the value of providing turn-key employment solutions to property owners by including employee benefits and HR services to onsite workers. To capitalize on other employers’ growing desire to outsource human resources functions, the company formed Accord Human Resources and decided that the person responsible for the new business should be the company’s chief financial officer, Dale Hageman.
"More than 80 percent of our clients applied for PPP loans throughout the rounds that were made available to small businesses. During that time, we prepared a multitude of reports, letters, and other documents to help them, both with the original application process and with the forgiveness portion."
Attendees enjoyed NAPEO's last virtual meeting of the COVID era.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), one of a series of COVID relief bills enacted by Congress since the beginning of 2020, and the first one to become law under the Biden administration. One of the most important provisions of ARPA expands the availability of premium subsidies for individuals who purchase health insurance on one of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.
PEOs have been sponsoring multiple-employer plans (MEPS) for decades. In the summer of 2019, the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) final rule affecting specific MEPs clearly showed the way for association retirement plans to be offered by existing organizations such as associations formed to administer MEPs and, more relevant to this audience, created a safe harbor for PEOs to do the same. Then, taking a step further in late 2019, Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act), which amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) in various ways. Of particular interest to PEOs is that the SECURE Act created a new type of MEP called a pooled employer plan, or PEP. This new concept stirred up the retirement services community the first few months of 2020, at least until the COVID pandemic took priority.
Disaster (noun): “A sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In business, the loss of essential data, systems, or communications can be the disaster that leads to failure. What options should be considered to prevent the worst-case scenario of losing the core data that every company needs to operate effectively?
In a remote business world, companies are looking to hire the best talent regardless of location. Now that many teams are fully remote, PEOs can expand their markets to a wider client base without even getting on a plane. By doing so, you can strengthen existing client relationships as well as attract new prospects.
The results of NAPEO’s PEO Pulse survey for the first quarter of 2021 show that revenue growth reached its highest level since Q4 of 2019.
As I write this, another PEO Capitol Summit (PCS) is in the books. Better still, it will be our last virtual meeting—forever, we hope. The NAPEO team here pivoted as it always does and produced another top-notch event. We had a great program and a terrific turnout.