Paychex PEO: Intuitive HR Solutions
Updated: October 1, 2023
Paychex is a human capital management (HCM) company founded in 1971 and headquartered in Rochester, New York. They are top providers of PEO and HR services that offer their clients a multitude of options to simplify employee relations and management, as well as to automate tasks like recruiting services, health benefit accounts, insurance plans, employee assistance programs, and many others.
We will be placing a special focus on their PEO and discussing the value they can bring to a business's administration and day-to-day processes. A PEO system empowers businesses by offering employee management tools and allowing them to access their benefits, employee accounts, and data from one secure yet straightforward platform. Can this PEO be a fit for your company, or should you look at substitutes? Read on and decide!
Paychex PEO at a Glance
Paychex operates as a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that offers a lot of competitive services to simplify processes for over 730,000 worksite employees in the United States and Europe. They believe they add value to businesses by providing them with Fortune 500-level benefits and coverage while allowing them to maintain control of their corporate choices and operations.
Paychex PEO handles the human resource, payroll, benefits, and regulatory compliance needs of businesses of all sizes. Like other providers in this field, they act as co-employers of your workforce by handling much of your HR tasks via their outsourcing technological solutions and strive to always be there for their clients by assigning them their own HR, payroll, risk management, benefits, and relationship professionals.
They have an excellent standing in the industry, garnering many awards and accolades for their technology solutions, innovation, and customer service excellence, which they proudly display on their website. They have been members of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) since 2006 and are an IRS-certified provider. They are accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC), as they are by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which gives them an A+ rating.
Industries & Business Sizes Served by Paychex PEO
This PEO does not specify any specific business market on their webpage. By and large, Paychex seems to want to appeal to a large variety of business sizes, from individuals who are self-employed all the way to large companies with over 1,000 employees. That being said, they only actively advertise Paychex PEO to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with 20-49 employees. Similarly, they claim to support many industries but only list the following online: restaurants, hospitality, professional services, healthcare, skilled trades (construction), retail, and senior living.
Paychex PEO Services & Features
Similarly to other top providers, Paychex does not discuss their plans or packages online for their PEO services. They provide a fair bit of information on their website to educate prospective customers about typical services and layout stand-alone payroll packages. However, they don't tell you how they can specifically meet your needs as a co-employment solution. You would have to reach out to their sales team so that they can discuss your option by telephone or email.
With that in mind, they do discuss the categories of services that Paychex PEO offers, which are:
- HR technology: Central to their services is their customizable all-in-one software solution, which is geared towards the specific HR needs of their SMB clients. All their solutions are built around the Paychex Flex software, which simplifies payroll, HR, hiring, benefits, and compliance tasks. The system allows for many options, such as custom reporting, real-time analytics, paperless onboarding, employee self-service, and so on, and is accessible on any desktop or via their mobile app
- Payroll processing: They have options geared towards all sizes and types of businesses and will encompass payroll automation, tax calculation and filing, and state and federal regulation compliance. Their services can be accessed via desktop or mobile app, and employees may enter on their own to update direct deposit information, check pay stubs and access other records
- Time & attendance: Also integrated into their software solution is a cloud-based time and attendance system designed to keep track of scheduling, overtime, reporting, and other communication and administrative tasks in an error-free way. This information would be made available to administrators and employees alike
- Applicant tracking & recruitment: Their system also includes software to automate recruitment while allowing hiring managers to oversee and interact at every step of the process. This paperless solution is designed to save you time and money
- Employee benefits: Paychex offers a good amount of competitive benefits to enhance your recruitment efforts and ensure employee retention. Benefits include medical, dental, vision, and life insurance plans as well as 401(k), workers' compensation (WC), FSA/HSA, and many other benefits. They even offer employees personal assistance and financial wellness programs. Employees are able to access the system themselves to enroll in some benefits
- Compliance & safety: Your business will have to contend with many governmental workplace safety rules and regulations, and Paychex strives to make sure you are up-to-date and compliant with all of them. This entails doing safety assessments, making required training and documentation available, and offering access to support from professional safety experts
- HR consulting & guidance: They offer access to HR professionals who can guide you through any HR functions or issues that may arise, which may involve changing laws and regulations, shaping company policies and culture, recruitment, benefits decisions, employee assistance strategies, and employee or management training and development
Paychex Flex also allows for many optional add-ons that may fall within the above categories and allow for integrations with accounting software, voice assistants, and other HR, hiring, or affiliated APIs.
Paychex PEO Plans & Cost
As with most providers, Paychex does not advertise specific PEO package costs online. It is understood that they charge per employee on a monthly basis, although there might also be a flat monthly fee. They do share the introductory price for their basic Paychex Flex plan, Essentials, which is $39 plus $5 per employee, billed monthly. However, that plan is very basic and doesn't include much of their PEO services, so you have to contact them to discuss pricing based on your location, business size, industry, needs, and budget.
Their prices are generally considered reasonable within their field. But keep in mind that there may be many add-on features that are extra costs, such as integrations or certain benefits like workers' compensation.
Paychex PEO Perks
A PEO service should have a variety of capabilities, and picking one that’s right for you is a complex decision. Paychex is a promising choice that provides all the necessities as well as additional business-based services to satisfy all needs. Let's look at what Paychex PEO has to offer:
- Comprehensive PEO software: They provide an integrated payroll and HR solution that allows for simple management of employee payroll and benefits, as well as all your business's HR and compliance needs, from a single platform. This allows you, the business owner or administrator, to concentrate on your important objectives and complete your work without difficulties
- Full-featured payroll solutions: Paychex Flex also assists with processing employee wages and payroll taxes so that payrolls can be integrated with the time and attendance system. This should provide precise and accurate insights into the precise times of employees' check-in and check-out as well as their working hours
- Excellent customer support: 24/7 US-based customer service is available via email, live chat, and by phone
- Responsive expert guidance: They make payroll and HR support experts available to you at any time and assign you an account manager who is highly responsive and attuned to your needs, who may help you get over any employee relations issues you may have
- Integrated HR technology: They have many built-in integrations to other software solutions you may already be using
- Detailed & accurate invoicing: The company provides clearly itemized costs on every invoice sent to users, making it a transparent PEO option for businesses on a budget or those who want to keep track of every penny. You shouldn't have any surprises regarding the cost
- Dedicated safety representative: Employee compensation insurance is often not optional but is mandatory coverage for medical expenses and lost wages for workers who get injured on the job. Their insurance solutions can help you find complaint coverage and stabilize your business's cash flow
Paychex PEO Drawbacks
Of course, depending on your priorities, there might be some aspects of Paychex's services that do not align with your needs. You might reconsider based on the following:
- Many services come as paid extras: Depending on your package quote, you might be charged extra for many features that you'd expect to be included, like workers' compensation, disability insurance, or other employee benefits
- Limited nationwide availability for services: Their benefits may not be consistent across all states
- Less transparent PEO features & pricing: Generally speaking, there is no information online about specific PEO packages. You must contact them for a quote to discuss the features that they offer and how they may fit into your workflow, and that entails being asked many questions, which could take a lot of time. Also, they do not feature a guided demo on their website, although you can find short demo videos there if you look, and they will set up a live demonstration for those who are interested in their services
- Custom reporting may be difficult: The consensus among users is that tailoring your reports to your individual needs takes time and requires a lot of effort
What Are Users Saying About Paychex PEO
Paychex is a top HCM provider and thus receives a lot of client feedback online. The reviews are mixed for their services, with some review forums reflecting mostly positive responses while others show a more negative picture. They receive 4.2 out of 5 on G2 and 7.1 out of 10 on TrustRadius. On the other hand, they get a considerably poorer 1.05 out of 5 on BBB and a 1.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot, although those scores are based on a smaller sample of reviews.
It is important to note that a good portion of reviewers may only have purchased payroll or other specific business solutions. However, because the company's offerings are based around their Paychex Flex platform, we think much of this feedback is worth considering.
Ease of Use
The general consensus among users is that Flex is a user-friendly and simple system to configure and use, even for customers who state they have no prior experience with such technologies. They report it to have a great, intuitive layout, and it seems that businesses of all sizes are able to use the software with ease.
However, it must be noted that the system is not thought to be perfect. Some reviewers point out that customized reporting has a moderate learning curve, and others had similar difficulty with hiring and payroll processes—as separate functions and as integrated. One small business user suggested that Paychex could do a better job training their users on the system, while another suggested that clearer, guiding prompts would benefit less frequent users. However, a lot of longer-term users say that usability gets better over time, and some even say that integrations have gotten more streamlined.
Guidance & support
Customers generally praise the company's customer support, even though some state that it's rare that they need that support. Users state that emails get prompt responses, and if expert guidance is necessary, they will call the customers right away. Similarly, some state that the representatives will sometimes do the necessary tasks for them if they're having trouble, and many praise the account managers assigned to them for their availability, helpfulness, and patience. In fact, having that kind of personalized service is why many reviewers think that Paychex stands out, even those who were otherwise not pleased with the provider!
Is it worth it?
While many do praise Paychex, their software solutions are not without issues. As touched on before, some users have had difficulty transferring onboarding fields within the Flex software, which creates payroll difficulties. Some complain of having incorrect deductions taken from payroll, which causes them problems with tax or insurance audits. In fact, a good number of complaints have to do with the provider not being prompt or accurate with their tax filing, among other payroll- and benefits-related issues. Some complained about being billed after closing their account and being overbilled for benefits like retirement or workers’ compensation coverage.
Paychex replies fairly promptly to BBB complaints, and their replies seem to be in the spirit of resolving issues quickly and satisfactorily. They will often fix the issues themselves and then communicate through private channels. Therefore, users who hold helpful support and guidance of the highest importance are generally satisfied with their service, but not those who want to be more self-sufficient or have fewer payroll issues to deal with. But, by and large, clients seem to think that their PEO costs are acceptable.
Paychex has various customer support options that are separated into client (administrator) and employee options. They have a general support phone line at 833-299-0168 or 800-741-6277 for Paychex Flex issues.
If you are an administrator who needs assistance, you may go to their client support portal and choose the issue that you need help with. There, you will find specific telephone numbers and email addresses. If you need help outside of the listed issues, you can submit a contact form with more detailed information.
Employees have their own employee portal with a drop-down list of common issues, each with specific numbers, email addresses, or information. If they have more complicated needs, they cannot use the contact form, however, and instead must communicate through the Paychex Flex platform.
The Bottom Line
Paychex offers a fully-featured and flexible payroll service for payroll tax obligations and payroll processing, besides providing many other benefits, including HR services, time and attendance tools, and business insurance options. Additionally, the company has experts specializing in every area of your system, which guarantees you will get professional assistance anytime you need it.
They are well-regarded for their customer support and expert guidance by current and former customers alike. However, while their software is generally thought to be user-friendly and intuitive, some customers report having difficulty getting accustomed to it. Some integrations, benefits, onboarding, and payroll deduction problems have been reported, among other issues, but Paychex does seem to promptly and actively address those when they are brought to their attention.
If you're still on the fence, you can read about other PEO providers and decide if another company meets your requirements more fully. Then, turn to our comparison tool to get an overall picture of how PEO providers stack up against each other.
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