Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year, Happy New Savings

December 26th, 2011

Here at PEO Advantage, we want to wish all of our friends, families, clients and employees a happy holiday season and a happy New Year. As many of us set business goals and resolutions for the New Year, the team at PEO Advantage is busy working on ways to better serve you.

Knowing that the New Year often includes an attempt at decreasing costs and sticking to a proposed annual budget, we can’t stress enough to new customers and business owners that we are the only PEO broker who guarantees results and consistently saves our clients over 25%! When it comes to HR solutions, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) improve productivity, reduce liability and save money. But with more than 800 PEOs across the country to choose from, each with different specialties and different pricing structures, finding the best one can be a full-time job.

Our team takes the time to manage the entire process of securing quotes from all the PEO companies on the short list, making sure your requirements are crystal clear and you’re getting the best possible pricing. After the proposals are in, we compile all the pertinent information into one easy-to-read report that provides a side-by-side comparison of PEO and employee leasing services, including a full break down of all costs. If you already have a PEO, we’ll compare new potential PEO companies against your current provider. Rewarding yourself in the New Year, and drastically decreasing expenses, has never been so easy.

For existing customers, rest assured the saving never ends. With PEO Advantage, you’re constantly rewarded for partnering with the best PEO broker, and you’re support never stops! Our annual review process makes sure your PEO and employee leasing solutions continue to keep up with your changing HR needs and business/budget goals.

We promise you won’t find another PEO broker this year who can provide you with RIGHT PEO organization—and guarantee savings. Call 877-636-9525 or contact us today to start saving, and have a Happy New Year!

Better Managing Your Specialty Drug Benefits

December 19th, 2011

Many employers misunderstand specialty drugs and the costs associated with them. According to a national survey by Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), one-quarter of employers in the United States (representing private and public employers) have little to no understanding of specialty pharmacy benefits. Additionally, only 53 percent have a moderate understanding of what specialty pharmacy benefits are.

What are specialty drugs? Specialty drugs are highly complex prescription medications that require special handling, administration, or monitoring.  These drugs are used to treat complex, chronic and often costly conditions, including asthma, cancer, chronic kidney failure, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, infertility and much more.

Most employers are using a traditional benefit design, including tiered formularies, co-payments and co-insurance, but tiered drug benefit plans may provide a different level of coverage for specialty drugs. And unfortunately, employers may not be aware of just how much money is being spent on these drugs.

A value-based benefits design might be a better fit for employees with biologic/specialty pharmacy medication needs. The survey conducted by Midwest Business Group on Health revealed that only 13 percent of employers were using a specialty pharmacy provider, a provider that may have greater expertise on how to provide these drugs more effectively.

Even with the high costs associated with specialty drugs, insurer competition remains a factor in pricing and PEO Advantage has wholesale access to over 100 nationwide PEOs and all major medical and supplemental insurance carriers. PEO Advantage guarantees its clients a minimum of 25% cost reduction.

Vendor cost is often one of the most important criteria employers consider when contracting with a health care provider, and value-based designs are still capable of lowering, rather than increasing, co-pays for specialty drugs deemed necessary for patient treatment. They may also provide health coaching, to ensure compliance with medical regimens and encourage the proper use of these drugs.

For more information on value-based designs and healthcare/prescription coverage, contact PEO Advantage. Our streamlined yet comprehensive process includes in-depth analysis, a proprietary reverse auction RFP process, easy-to-read reports, side-by-side comparisons that clearly show value and savings, cost projections and expert recommendations. We take all the guesswork and hassle out of choosing the best healthcare options for your company.

Minimum Wage Increases for 2012

December 14th, 2011

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for enforcing some of our nation’s most comprehensive federal labor laws, including the minimum wage for people working within theUnited States. While minimum wage will remain unchanged at $7.25/hour, for 2012, that hasn’t stopped states from increasing their minimum wage policies for 2012.

States increasing their minimum wage are as follows:

States Increasing Minimum Wage

Florida: The Department of Economic Opportunity announced a $0.36 per hour increase, from $7.31 to $7.67 per hour, effective January 1, 2012.  Tipped employees must be paid at least $4.65 per hour.

Washington: The Department of Labor & Industries announced a $0.37 per hour increase, from to $8.67 to $9.04 per hour, effective January 1, 2012.

Arizona: The Industrial Commission announced a $0.30 per hour increase, from $7.35 to $7.65 per hour. An employer can pay a tipped employee a wage up to $3.00 per hour less than the minimum wage – $4.65 per hour.

Montana: The Department of Labor and Industry announced a $0.30 per hour increase, from $7.35 to $7.65 per hour, effective January 2012.

Ohio: The Department of Commerce announced a $0.30 per hour increase, from $7.40 to $7.70 per hour. However, effective January 2012, the minimum wage for tipped employees will be decreasing $0.15 per hour, from $3.85 to $3.70 per hour.

Oregon: The Bureau of Labor & Industries announced a $0.30 per hour increase, from $8.50 to $8.80 per hour.

Additionally, several states still have pending announcements. It is recommended that all employers turn to their states’ regulations and policies surrounding minimum wage for 2012. If working with a PEO, you can further rely on them for updates and expert help with risk management and compliance including payroll, OSHA, EEOC and more, which can protect you from making a simple (but costly) mistake! If looking to partner up with a PEO in 2012, contact PEO Advantage.

To Hire, or Not to Hire… Beloved Interns

December 5th, 2011

Interns are great. They perform skilled tasks for minimum wage or sometimes even for free, in exchange for exposure and experience within a particular field of work. If properly managed, internships can benefit both the employer and the intern in many ways, but if not properly managed, an employer runs the risk of failing to be compliant with U.S laws concerning internships.

The most important legal issue with internships is whether the employer must pay the intern. For private-sector employers in the US, the intern should almost always be paid at least minimum wage. The U.S. Department of Labor recognizes very narrow exceptions to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for private-sector internships and for-profit organizations. However, non-profit organizations and public-sector employers, are typically given greater latitude in determining whether or not to pay interns.

Just as a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) assists with your full time employees, a PEO offers the following areas of support, all necessary when employing an intern within your organization:

Finding the right candidate: Many employers think of interns as young adults or college students, but older workers may be just as qualified as, or even more qualified than, other applicants in satisfying an organization’s goals. A PEO is skilled at attracting and retaining the best fit for your organization.

Compliance: There are numerous legal issues associated with employing interns and employers should be careful not to violate state or federal laws. A PEO assumes this risk and is knowledgeable and up-to-date on all compliance issues including age limitations, child labor standards, discrimination, wages, and more.

Communications & HR Role: A PEO, assumes and manages critical HR management and employment-related responsibilities including employee administration. A PEO pays close attention to drafting policies and procedures regarding the internship, and may be able to provide training and development resources as it relates to the specific job.

Payroll, Wage and Overtime: As mentioned above, employers should be wary of state and federal laws on minimum wage and overtime. A PEO is up to date on compliance, and can also manage your new intern’s payroll or direct deposit, just as they do for your employees.

Do you have a good, strong, PEO on your side? If so, rest assured that your internship program will go seamlessly according to plan. With a PEO managing all of your HR administration and employee management, you have nothing to lose. Hire away; interns are of great value to an organization and can even become future full time employees!

For guidance on selecting the right PEO for your organization, contact PEO Advantage. Thanks to our solid industry partnerships, we pass our relationships and volume discounts directly on to you.