What is the difference between PEO and EOR?

Explore the key differences between PEO and EOR in our latest blog post. Gain insights into their roles, benefits, and which option is right for your business. Read now!
differences between peo and eor
Written by
Ontop Team

Introduction

In the world of business, there are various terms and acronyms that can be confusing, especially when it comes to matters related to employment. Two such terms are PEO (Professional Employer Organization) and EOR (Employer of Record). While these terms may sound similar, they actually refer to different entities that play distinct roles in assisting businesses with their HR and administrative needs.

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between PEO and EOR, shedding light on their respective functions and responsibilities.

What is PEO?

A Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, is a third-party entity that partners with businesses to provide comprehensive HR solutions. When a company enters into a PEO arrangement, the PEO becomes the employer of record for the employees, taking on various administrative tasks such as payroll processing, benefits administration, and tax withholding. Essentially, the PEO acts as a co-employer, sharing certain employer responsibilities with the business owner.

What is EOR?

On the other hand, an Employer of Record, or EOR, is a service provider that takes on the legal and administrative responsibilities of being the official employer for a company's employees. Unlike a PEO, an EOR does not share employer responsibilities with the business owner. Instead, the EOR assumes full legal liability and accountability for HR-related matters, including payroll, compliance, and risk management. Essentially, the EOR acts as the legal employer, while the business owner retains day-to-day control over the employees' work.

The key differences between PEO and EOR

While both PEO and EOR provide HR and administrative services, there are several key differences between the two. 

One of the main distinctions lies in the employer-employee relationship. In a PEO arrangement, the PEO and the business owner share employer responsibilities, whereas in an EOR setup, the EOR is the sole legal employer. Additionally, PEOs often offer a co-employment model, while EORs assume full legal liability. 

Another important difference is the level of control the business owner has over HR decisions. With a PEO, the business owner retains control over hiring, onboarding, and termination, whereas with an EOR, these responsibilities lie with the EOR.

Legal and Administrative Responsibilities

When it comes to legal and administrative responsibilities, there are differences between PEO and EOR. A PEO takes on tasks such as payroll processing, tax administration, and benefits management. However, the business owner remains responsible for day-to-day HR functions, including hiring and firing. 

On the other hand, an EOR assumes full legal liability for all employment-related matters, including compliance with employment laws, tax filings, and providing employee benefits. This means that the business owner can offload legal and administrative burdens to the EOR, allowing them to focus on core business operations.

Risk Management and Compliance

Another significant aspect where PEO and EOR differ is risk management and compliance. PEOs often assist businesses in managing risks associated with employment, providing guidance on HR policies and procedures, and ensuring compliance with various labor laws and regulations. However, the ultimate responsibility for compliance still lies with the business owner. In contrast, an EOR takes on the burden of compliance and risk management entirely, relieving the business owner of legal and regulatory concerns.

Benefits and Payroll Administration

When it comes to benefits and payroll administration, both PEO and EOR offer different levels of involvement. PEOs typically provide access to a wide range of employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks. They also handle payroll processing and tax withholding. In contrast, an EOR is responsible for providing employee benefits and managing payroll on behalf of the business owner. However, the specific benefits and payroll services offered may vary between PEOs and EORs, so it is essential to evaluate the options available.

Employer-Employee Relationship

The employer-employee relationship also varies between PEO and EOR arrangements. With a PEO, the business owner maintains a direct relationship with the employees, overseeing day-to-day work and making HR decisions. The PEO acts as a co-employer, supporting the business owner in managing HR tasks. In an EOR model, however, the EOR becomes the legal employer, establishing a direct relationship with the employees. This means that the EOR handles HR functions like hiring, onboarding, and termination, while the business owner retains control over the employees' work and performance.

Conclusion

In summary, understanding the difference between PEO and EOR is crucial for businesses seeking HR and administrative support. While both PEO and EOR offer valuable services, they differ in terms of employer responsibilities, legal liabilities, and the level of control the business owner has over HR decisions. PEOs provide shared employer responsibilities and greater control for the business owner, while EORs assume full legal liability and provide complete HR support. By evaluating their specific needs and priorities, businesses can choose the option that best aligns with their goals and objectives.

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