Author Archives: seowerkz

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Hiring Independent Contractors

The explosive growth of the so-called gig economy has many employers eager to explore the use of independent contractors.

Although many companies – especially small to medium-sized businesses – may derive benefits from using independent specialists in some roles, this arrangement does have some potential downsides.

Before you decide to contract with anyone to perform work that you might otherwise hire an employee to do, it’s important that you learn the rules. Otherwise you could find yourself in a bind with the IRS, your state’s unemployment agency and other regulatory bodies.

Understanding the differences between independent contractors and employees

What Is an Independent Contractor?

The essence of defining independent contractors, sometimes called independent specialists, lies with the fact that they are truly independent.

In other words, you would typically enter into a contractual relationship with someone who agrees, for a set fee, to provide you with a work product. For example, you might contract with a graphic designer to produce marketing collateral materials for your business or with a web designer to build your company’s website. These obligations tend to be short-term, finite and outside the ongoing, core operations of your business.

To accomplish his or her objectives, the contractor can use whatever tools and resources they see fit, including subcontractors. They typically perform their work outside of your facility, on their own time schedule. Contractors also typically work for other clients, in addition to your company and, often, they have their own established entity. To be compensated, contractors submit an invoice for the set fee stipulated in the independent contractor agreement you negotiated and signed with them.

Where Does the Line Blur Between Contractors & Employees?

Although there is an ongoing legal debate about this subject, some actions will put you at risk.

You cannot dictate certain conditions to an independent specialist, such as when, where or how they must perform their duties. You should not provide them with any tools to carry out their obligations or supervise their work. You typically cannot pay a contractor by the hour, week or month, nor can you provide them with any benefits. You should never have them perform the same job duties as any of your employees.

At best, you invite a plethora of audits, from the IRS, the Department of Labor, OSHA or any number of other compliance-oriented agencies if you cross any of these lines. At worst, you could find yourself subject to harsh fines and penalties and, in a worst-case scenario, you may have to give the contractor back pay and benefits for the time they worked for you.

These are only some of the red flags that might indicate that a contractor actually fits the legal definition of an employee. Behaviors that cross the line for some businesses may not be a problem for others. The challenge is knowing the difference.

How Can You Use Independent Contractors Legally?

Unfortunately, the independent contractor definition established by the IRS is not black-and-white.

You could engage the services of an attorney to advise you on these matters. You could also utilize the services of a professional employer organization (PEO). A PEO has regulatory and compliance experts to guide you through the legal aspects of issues relating to employment and benefits, risk management, workers compensation and liability management.

In Utah and Nevada, contact WTA Inc. for assistance with all your human resources, payroll administration and related matters. Our recruitment and hiring services provide a variety of benefits and, when you use our services, you can reduce your overall costs while improving your company’s performance. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation to learn more about how our services can benefit you.

Human Resources & the Employee Handbook: Do You Have One?

Human resources is a topic that’s fraught with potential financial risk and legal liability for your business. Consequently, you must do everything you can to protect yourself and the company’s future.

Your employee handbook can provide a number of benefits and protections – but only if it’s written correctly and updated as often as necessary to reflect changes in the law and other relevant factors.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of small to medium-sized businesses do not have a handbook. Many business owners don’t believe it’s a priority, especially if the company only has a handful of employees. Without one, however, you could find yourself in the middle of an expensive and potentially devastating situation.
Human resources and employee handbooks

Why You Need a Human Resources & Employee Handbook

A handbook allows you to show new employees what your company is about, explain what they can expect when they come to work for you and assist them in knowing where to turn if they need help.

But, from a legal perspective, the benefits of a human resources handbook become much more important.

A handbook allows you to formally communicate company policies and lay out the obligations of your employees. This ensures that every employee is given clear and consistent information. It also ensures that your company is in compliance with governing laws and regulations.

How An Employee Handbook Helps You Avoid Legal Trouble

When a current or former employee threatens (or takes) legal action against your company, your handbook may be your ticket out of trouble – assuming you enforce its policies consistently across the board.

An employee handbook proves that your company exercised reasonable care to uphold its legal obligations to your employees. It also demonstrates that you clearly communicated the company’s required code of conduct and the penalties for violating the rules.

Upon issuing the handbook to new hire, requiring them to sign an acknowledgment will demonstrate that the employee read, understood and agreed to everything contained therein. This is key in the event of any challenge or legal issue that comes up.

How to Design & Implement an Effective Employee Manual

You can find templates in a variety of locations, online or through small business associations. However, you have no guarantee that the information is relevant or up-to-date.

You could invest the hefty sum it would take to have an attorney draft a handbook for you. This will ensure your manual is legally compliant but you’ll have to revisit the attorney periodically for updates.

Or you could use the services of a professional employer organization (PEO), who will include this important document as a part of their services. WTA Inc. provides a full range of human resources and payroll administration to businesses throughout Utah and Nevada. Our comprehensive HR outsourcing services protect you and your business, minimizing your risk and saving you money.

Contact us today to learn more about our human resources services, including recruitment and hiring, risk management, onboarding and employee handbooks.

Resolve to Learn More About PEO Services this Year

If you aren’t currently using PEO services – or if you aren’t familiar with the many advantages provided by professional employer organizations – resolve to explore the possibilities in 2019.

WTA, Inc. provides a full range of human resources-related services to small and medium-sized businesses in Utah and Nevada. We think that, once you learn more about the many clear advantages we offer, this might just be the year you make the move to working with a PEO.

learn about PEO services

What Types of PEO Services Are Available?

PEOs are set up to handle every aspect of your human resources, including:

  • Payroll and tax administration
  • Recruiting and hiring
  • Employee benefits administration
  • Workers’ compensation administration
  • Risk management
  • Regulatory and governmental compliance
  • Immigration compliance
  • Employer liability management

The difference between a PEO and a payroll service is that, when you work with a PEO like WTA, Inc., we become the employer of record for your staff. You retain control of their job description, day-to-day activities, performance reviews, etc., while we take over the legal liability and risk.

What Are the Advantages of Using PEO Services?

Although you’ll enjoy a variety of advantages when using the services of a PEO, these are some of the highlights.

Improved Employee Benefits

Using the resource-pooling power of a PEO, you’ll be able to improve the quality of your employee benefits without incurring extra cost. This helps you both attract and retain top talent. Turnover goes down for most companies who use a PEO, by about 14 percent on average.

Reduced Legal Liability

By ensuring that your company is in compliance on all relevant issues, and by handling all your payroll tax filing and remittance, our services help to reduce your human resources-related legal liability.

Faster Business Growth

Instead of spending time and effort on HR-related tasks, compliance, etc., you and your team can get back to what you’re supposed to be doing – growing your business. In fact, the research proves that companies that use a PEO grow, on average, 7 to 9 percent faster than those businesses who do not and are 50 percent less likely to go out of business.

Choosing the Right PEO for Your Business

To get the most out of your professional employer organization relationship, choose a PEO partner that shares your vision for the future growth and profitability of your company. Look for a company that is passionate about taking care of your valued employees and protecting you from the many HR-related risks that about in today’s litigious climate.

At WTA, Inc., we have more than a century of combined experience in the industry. We are a locally owned and operated company just like yours, and we understand how to help you succeed.

WTA Inc., serving clients throughout Nevada and Utah, offers all types of PEO and payroll services. We can handle all of your human resources administration or any portion that you prefer. Contact us today to learn more. We look forward to showing you how you reduce costs, reduce legal liability and grow your business more successfully when you use the WTA Inc. PEO services.

Outsourcing Human Resource Services: Pros & Cons

Have you considered outsourcing human resource services for your business? If so, you may already recognize the many benefits that an HR partner can provide. However, if you haven’t explored this option, you may be missing out on an opportunity to grow your business and improve your bottom line.


A quick review of the pros and cons of letting an experienced professional handle your payroll, benefits and other HR services will help you determine whether this may be a beneficial step for your business.

outsourcing human resources

The Benefits of Outsourcing Human Resource Services


Although outsourcing the HR functions of your company can provide many benefits, the most important advantages are cost savings, better employee benefits, reduced risk and liability, improved productivity and the ability to attract and retain top talent.


Business owners appreciate these benefits because they are measurable and concrete. However, consider the less quantifiable advantages that come with taking this burden off the shoulders of your own staff. You will free up valuable resources – human and economic – to use for growing your business and improving focus.


The Downside of Outsourcing HR Functions


Although few, using an outside service to handle your HR functions can pose some risks.


The biggest challenge most companies experience is concern from your staff. Employees traditionally fear change and, when changes concern their paychecks and benefits, the chatter can reach a fever-pitch. They may fear having their privacy breached or having an outside source have control over their job duties, performance evaluations or even their future with the company.


Fortunately, these challenges are easily addressed if you choose the right company to handle your human resources services. When handled correctly, your HR consultant can provide the information, resources and reassurance your employees need to adapt. In fact, choose the right HR partner and your team will quickly recognize the many benefits they will gain.


Who Can You Trust with Your Outsourced Human Resources?


You have many choices for outsourcing your payroll, benefits and other HR services. However, if you’re going to take this leap of faith, you need a true partner who can handle all aspects of this important business function.


A professional employee organization (PEO) specializes in handling every detail of your human resources, including recruiting, workers’ comp administration, payroll, regulatory and government compliance, employee benefits administration, risk management and more.


By outsourcing the HR components of your business, your small company can provide world-class benefits and services to your employees. At the same time, you save money, reduce your liability and free your company’s resources to focus on more lucrative priorities.


In Utah and Nevada, WTA Inc. provides PEO services to business owners who recognize the clear benefits of these services. Not only will we take on all the risk and responsibility associated with HR but, for most clients, we can provide appreciable cost savings. Contact WTA Inc. today to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing human resource services with a PEO.

PEO vs. Payroll Service: Which Do You Need?

Is a PEO or payroll service provider (PSP) better suited for your business, if you need help with your human resources services?

To determine which one is right for you, it’s important to identify what services each type of company provides. Armed with that knowledge, you can compare the pros and cons of each and compare them to your own business goals and objectives.

PEO or payroll service

You may be hoping to save time and avoid the hassle associated with calculating payroll, cutting checks and quarterly reporting – and a payroll service can certainly help with that. But what if you could also get out from under all the liability and hassle of recruiting, compliance and benefits administration?

What if you could accomplish those goals and cut your employee-related costs at the same time?

What Does a Payroll Service Provider (PSP) Do?

PSPs typically handle all the functions related to paying your employees and paying federal payroll taxes. The employer retains all liability.

Many PSPs also offer a more robust suite of services, usually under the title of administrative services organization or ASO. In an ASO scenario, the company provides ancillary services that might include safety training and general HR support. Some companies will provide benefits administration although, in that case, the PSP or ASO does not carry the policy themselves. That remains the responsibility of the employer.

What Services Does a PEO Provide?

Professional employer organizations (PEOs) do everything that PSPs do and much more. In fact, PEOs handle every aspect of human resource management.

In addition to handling every aspect of payroll and tax administration, PEOs take care of recruiting and hiring, employee benefits administration, and regulatory and government compliance. They also handle tasks such as onboarding and employment verifications. But PEOs do more than simply provide a suite of services.

PEOs act as co-employers. Although you retain full control of your staff and oversee their daily activities, the PEO takes on the liability and all human resources-related risks, including the handling of unemployment claims. They also provide all workers’ compensation insurance and health benefits, carrying the policy themselves.

PEOs can provide both workers’ comp and health benefits at a much lower rate than an individual employer can obtain – especially for small- to medium-sized businesses – because they have such a large pool of employees.

Will Your Business Benefit More from a PEO or PSP?

If you’re just starting out and have one or two employees, you might not need the full-service benefits that a PEO can offer. In that case, you can simply outsource your payroll processes and whatever other aspects of your human resources that make sense.

However, small businesses will derive substantial benefits from working with a PEO. Human resources administration requires a substantial amount of your time and effort, pulling you away from what should be your primary focus – growing your business. PEOs also provide professional advice and ensure that you’re in compliance with federal and state employment laws. You’ll save significantly on workers’ comp and health insurance too, allowing you to invest more into your business’s growth.

Throughout Utah and Nevada, WTA Inc. provides a full range of human resources administration and services, including payroll services, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, benefits administration, and compliance. We invite you to contact our Murray, Utah headquarters today to learn more about us and the substantial benefits of working with a PEO.

4 Ways to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs

Reducing your workers’ compensation cost can directly affect your company’s profitability. For some firms, cutting these costs can make the difference between success and failure.

If your company has employees that fall into high-risk categories, workers comp (WC) premiums can add up to 15 percent to your payroll costs. Two key factors – the skyrocketing cost of healthcare and a hard insurance market – are likely to cause WC costs to increase even more in the next few years.

workers compensation costs

Although you can’t control financial markets and other factors that influence insurance costs, you can take steps within your organization to keep your WC premiums as low as possible.

No. 1: Implement a Comprehensive Safety Policy

Having (and enforcing) a safety policy is important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is how it may help control WC costs.

Your safety policy should provide detailed directions intended to eliminate workplace accidents. Incorporate required training and periodic policy review and, above all, lay out clear penalties for violating safety policies.

Document your safety training and require all employees to sign off on policies, updates and training.

No. 2: Implement a Substance-Abuse Program

Many workplace accidents involve employees who use or abuse drugs or alcohol. In fact, rampant substance abuse problems among your employees can double your WC costs.

If you aren’t willing or able to implement a periodic or random drug testing policy, consider implementing mandatory testing as a condition of employment and in response to any workplace accident.

Even if you don’t implement a testing program, consider implementing a mandatory education program your employees and provide them easy and confidential access to counseling and other substance abuse resources.

No. 3: Revisit Job Descriptions and Workers Comp Classifications

Are all your employees categorized properly for workers compensation purposes?

Revisit your company’s job descriptions for accuracy, or write them up if they don’t yet exist. Review each position with your WC carrier to ensure your policy accurately reflects the risk your company faces.

It’s tempting to classify as many employees as possible as low-risk but, if your low-risk employees ever perform high-risk tasks, you could find yourself facing huge premium increases or even policy cancellation if you have a substantial claim.

For example, if a member of your IT department climbs on his desk to change a light bulb above – but steps wrong and falls while getting down – that claim could haunt you for years with increased premiums.

No. 4: Use a PEO to Help Reduce Workers Compensation Costs

Working with a PEO can help you reduce your WC premium costs substantially.

A PEO can assist you with implementing and enforcing safety and substance abuse policies and ensuring the correct risk classifications for your team. They can work with you to improve communication with your employees about safety, reducing false or frivolous claims and getting hurt employees back to work more quickly.

Your PEO will also help ensure your firm complies with all governing laws and regulations, reducing your risk exposure and – as a result – your workers comp cost.

WTA Inc. assists clients in Salt Lake City and throughout northern Utah with HR services, benefits administration, payroll and tax administration, recruitment, hiring and retention. Our comprehensive service offerings and exceptional client service set us apart in the industry.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reduce your workers compensation costs and potential risk.

What Is a PEO & What Could it Mean for Your Business?

The term PEO can trigger confusion for business owners and HR managers who haven’t previously encountered a Professional Employer Organization. However, once you have a better understanding of the services that PEOs offer, we suspect you won’t soon forget the value packed into this acronym.

The services offered by a PEO can significantly improve your business outcomes, saving you time and money and mitigating much of your human resources-related risk. You can attract and retain a higher quality of employee and boost productivity, directly improving the bottom line.

And perhaps most important, using PEO services lets you get back to doing what you do best — running and growing your business.

What Is a PEO & What Could it Mean for Your Business

What Is a PEO, or Professional Employer Organization?

PEOs provide a valuable suite of services that take the burden of human resources (HR) management off your hands.

Once called employee leasing companies, now PEOs are commonly referred to as co-employers. Legally, your employees become employees of your PEO. However, this relationship is in name only. You remain free to make all your own employee-related decisions.

What you don’t have to do is … almost anything else.

PEOs typically handle all payroll, benefits administration, HR-related reporting, compliance and payroll tax filing. They also handle onboarding, employee manuals, employment verifications, drug testing and employment status verifications.

But wait, there’s more. Your PEO also carries the workers’ compensation coverage for your employees. So if someone gets injured on the job, they will oversee the claims process.

If you’re wondering what the catch may be, you can relax. There isn’t one.

PEOs Help You Save Time & Money While Improving Productivity

Because PEOs assist many different companies, they have hundreds of thousands of employees on the books. Thanks to the economy of scale, this means that their costs are substantially lower. Your staff will get better benefits for less money (and likely a reduction in the amount of your contribution). You won’t have to spend time managing these tasks — or paying an HR person to handle them for you.

Your employees will appreciate the improvement in their benefits package, and as result, you’ll have lower turnover and happier, more productive employees.

PEOs Help Mitigate HR-Related Risk

Because your PEO has expertise in and handles tasks such as filing and paying payroll taxes, verifying applicants’ I-9 statuses, tending to compliance matters, etc., your business’s risk will be significantly lessened.

You will have to follow all applicable laws in your employment practices; however, your PEO can provide guidance and assistance to keep you on track.

PEOs Let You Get Back to the Business of Running Your Company

When you have to handle every HR function and issue yourself, it can take a significant amount of time — either yours or a dedicated employee’s. With a PEO, you can get these time-consuming tasks off your desk without having to worry if they are being done right.

And that means you can get back to the important tasks associated with running and growing your company. For small businesses and startups, these services provide exactly what you need, allowing you to focus on the future.

In Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities of northern Utah, WTA Inc. has offered a comprehensive suite of HR services for more than 15 years. When you’re ready to discover all the ways a PEO can help your business grow and thrive, contact us to schedule a personal consultation.

Workplace Wellness Programs Keep Your Team Happier and Healthier

Workplace wellness programs are great perks for your team. When employers support employee health, employees are happier and more fulfilled. But from an employer’s standpoint, what are the main benefits of instituting workplace wellness programs?

Workplace Wellness Programs Keep Your Team Happier and Healthier

Reduces Health Care Costs

The main cause of high health care costs is chronic health conditions. While some illnesses might be genetic or unavoidable, employers may be able to lower health care costs by helping employees establish a healthier lifestyle. Workplace wellness can be an investment in itself, allowing companies to reap benefits other than saving money on health care.

Builds a Health-Focused Culture

Company culture is the atmosphere in the office that makes employees either love or hate coming to work every day.

When your employees are in the middle of a weight loss challenge or want to make sure they don’t miss the company softball playoffs, they’re fully participating and engaging in their workplace with their co-workers. It helps build a company’s culture around what matters: relationships and self-care!

Boosts Productivity

A healthier employee is more focused and therefore more productive. Studies show that employees who participate in wellness programs are also 45 percent more likely to adapt to change than other employees.

If you want a responsive, adaptable team, give them an opportunity to engage in bettering their physical and mental health in the workplace!

Give Them What They Want!

Workplace wellness isn’t just a marketing tactic to get new people in the door. Your employees really want it! Up to 39 percent of employees want a free gym membership. Thirty-three percent want free fitness or yoga classes and 22 percent want an onsite gym.

While more money and tuition assistance rank higher on the wants list, the bottom line is that a wellness program designed to meet employee needs is a usable, effective job perk.

Improve Retention

When you’ve created a team spirit like no other, employees know they’ll be hard-pressed to find the same at another workplace. Workplace wellness programs are worth the money because they show members of your team that they are cared for and valued. And when you’re able to retain top talent, your company is more productive, earns more profit and achieves another level of success.

At WTA, Inc., we are dedicated to helping your company succeed, and we know that implementing workplace wellness programs — the kind your employees want — will make a positive impact on your business. Talk to us today about how to style a benefits package to fit your employees’ lifestyles and hobbies!

Ask These 6 Questions When Comparing PEOs

When you’re comparing PEOs, you’re at an exciting stage in your business — you’re ready for growth.

Ask These 6 Questions When Comparing PEOs

There comes a time when you need to onboard new employees and devote cash flow toward expansion initiatives. But you know if you continue to handle the financial and human resources details yourself, growth will only stall. This is where a professional employment organization (PEO) can step in and help you get over the hurdle.

A PEO, for tax purposes, is a co-employer of your staff. They handle all the HR functions that you aren’t ready to assign to a full-time, in-house employee. Because they offer their services to a number of companies, your small business is able to offer a more competitive benefits package due to lower rates — a talent attractor you may not have been able to afford otherwise. This just scratches the surface of the vast range of benefits provided by a PEO.

The concept of a PEO is relatively new, but there are still hundreds in business in the U.S. When you’re comparing PEOs and what they can provide, be sure to ask the questions below.

1. How Long Have You Been in Business?

Find out if the PEO you’re looking into has a long-standing reputation of excellence. Ask for references. Do your homework. Longevity is key, because it shows a company’s viability and commitment to their clients.

2. Do You Offer All the Services I Need or Will Need Soon?

Maybe right now you’re only interested in payroll and tax administration. That’s fine, but if you want to outsource more services to your PEO, what will you need them to take care of? Recruitment and hiring? Regulatory compliance?

Comparing PEOs can help you eliminate the candidates that don’t offer the full spectrum of services you will eventually need.

3. What Benefits Plans Can You Offer My Employees?

Get into the details when you’re interviewing a PEO. What specific benefits does their plan offer your employees? Is it enough to be worth the cost to you? Is it what your team is looking for from their company? Benefits plans are only competitive if they meet the needs of your staff.

4. Who Will Be My Primary Point of Contact?

Who should you call if you have a question on taxes? What if there’s a workplace injury? Make sure you get the logistics ironed out before you choose one company over another. Your point of contact should be someone who’s knowledgeable about your industry and your specific company.

5. What Will Our Contract Look Like?

What is the average monthly bill? How does the PEO charge? Do you have a contract with them? If so, what are the cancellation terms?

Make sure you get to the bottom of all these questions to ensure you have a clear idea of what to expect before you sign on.

6. How Much Will I Save?

Finally, get clear on costs. Will it be worth it for your business to make the transition? Between money and time savings, make sure the PEO you choose makes it worth it for your company to switch.

At WTA, Inc., your business’ success is our success. We are a co-employer you can be proud to depend on as you focus on what’s important: growing your business. Comparing PEOs is a process, and we are happy to provide you with any information about our team or the industry in general. Just give us a call!

5 Top Reasons Your Small Business Needs a PEO

Should your small business rely on PEO services?

5 Top Reasons Your Small Business Needs a PEO

It’s not always an easy question to answer, especially when you’re in full-on growth mode. The number of employees you have and the amount of revenue you accrue per year will factor into your decision as you look at the cost-versus-benefit analysis.

However, for most small businesses, there are five notable reasons that opting for a partnership with a PEO can deliver a positive return.

1. It Drastically Reduces the Cost of Benefits

When small businesses are looking to grow, it’s essential to analyze the benefits package offered to employees. Federal law requires small businesses to offer health insurance once they’ve gained a certain number of employees, and these costs can drastically weigh on a business due to the limited options available.

When your business is growing but still small, partnering with a PEO can provide access to the rates bigger companies enjoy and allow you to offer similar benefits packages at much lower rates than you would pay otherwise. The significance of these cost savings can make all the difference for a small business in its early stages of growth and expansion.

2. It Helps You Keep the Best Employees

When you save on health care, you can spend more on other benefits that your employees like as well, like gym memberships, paid time off, office snacks and more!

Or you could bump up their salaries, which is the ultimate employee appreciation effort. This will help your business retain the talent you need to maintain steady growth and avoid the major loss of time and money associated with key employees leaving the company.

3. It Keeps Your Business Compliant

It’s a full-time job keeping up with federal and state hiring and employment law practices. At the same time, they don’t give you any leeway if you don’t file paperwork on time or don’t abide by the rules. Ignorance is no excuse! You could face major fines which could translate to a serious financial setback.

When you work with a PEO, they handle all the filing for you, keeping your business in full compliance at all times.

4. It Lets You Focus on Your Business

You might not have the money to hire a full-time human resources expert, but you also don’t have the time to do the work yourself. Payroll, taxes, hiring — it takes your focus and attention away from what matters: leading your company in the right direction.

With a PEO on your side, you get back one of your most valuable assets: your time.

5. You Can Get Advice When You Need It

A quality PEO is a small-business owner’s lifeline. We’re here when you have questions about what to do in certain situations, like choosing the right hire or putting together an employment contract. In fact, we can take over most of these tasks for you. Call us anytime. We are here to help, giving you the peace of mind you’ve been missing.

WTA Inc. supports small businesses with PEO services to help them grow and flourish. How can we help you?