Contract Staffing, Employee Leasing or HR Outsourcing Services Move Aside- PEOs Have It Covered

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There was a time in the mid-80s when employee leasing was very popular. It had its roots in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act better known as TEFRA. This legislation introduced significant tax benefits for companies to lease employees which gave birth to so-called employee leasing or contract staffing firms. When the TEFRA tax loophole closed, some thought it might be the end of employee leasing, but they were wrong. Instead, the concept evolved, expanded and grew into what is now the $63 billion Professional Employer Organization (PEO) industry.

Today, according to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (, there are 400 member PEOs operating in 50 states. Among these PEOs are the most elite of the group, those who hold the prestigious Employers Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC, certification attesting to their adherence to stringent financial, professional and ethical standards.

Currently, ESAC-accredited PEOs serve clients and employees whose combined annual wages equal $27 billion. One of those companies, Alcott HR Group (, has grown and expanded along with the PEO industry. The company, which was co-founded in 1987 by Alcott President Louis Basso and Executive Vice President Barry Shorten, has been at the forefront of the PEO industry helping to shape its form and destiny. Since its inception, Alcott has also been ranked on various fastest-growing companies.

Louis Basso, president of Alcott has held various leadership roles in the PEO industry. On the state level, he was elected President of NAPEO’s New York Chapter (a position he still holds) and is NAPEO Leadership Council Chair for New York State. On the national level, he has served as NAPEO Vice President, President-Elect, President and Chairman of NAPEO’s Federal Legislation Committee. Today, Basso remains an active Member of the NAPEO Board of Directors and a Member of the Board of ESAC. In recognition of his leadership and contributions to the industry, in 1999, NAPEO awarded him its prestigious Michaeline A. Doyle Award.

Through the leadership of PEOs like Alcott, the industry gained more prominence and recognition as a major resource for small and growing businesses. In addition to handling payroll and tax administration, as well as employee benefits design and administration, the PEO’s role on behalf of its clients has extended to encompass regulatory compliance and extensive employee services ranging from Employee Assistance Program (EAP), college tuition and adoption assistance, to employee discounts for shopping, transportation, travel and entertainment, fitness club memberships, etc, and various other value-added benefits such as on-site defensive driving courses and flu shots for employees and their families.

In effect, today’s PEOs serve as a total Human Resources (HR) management and consulting service. It’s like having your own HR department only better with the added advantages of broader services, more selection in benefit packages, scales of economy and numerous employee services that most small and growing businesses could not provide on their own.

Since today’s best PEOs are staffed by trained and qualified HR professionals — individuals with the highest HR credential such as the PHR certification awarded by the Human Resources Certification Institute affiliated with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) awarded by the American Payroll Association (San Antonio, TX) — there’s the added assurance that the highest level of HR competency and knowledge is being applied.

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2 Responses to “Contract Staffing, Employee Leasing or HR Outsourcing Services Move Aside- PEOs Have It Covered”
  • I have heard good things about Alcott Group, what states are you not licensed as a PEO?

    • We currently operate in approximately 37 states. However, we continue to expand into other states as per our clients’ needs. Often times a client will need to open a facility in a state where we are not registered or licensed to operate, or a new client will come on with employees in a state where we are not currently operating, but once we are notified we gladly start the process to obtain registration and/or licensing. Being that we are one of the very few PEO’s in the country that is accredited by ESAC (, obtaining state registration and/or licensing is a relatively easy process for Alcott HR Group.

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