3 Minutes With Seina Rahim

“Three Minutes With” is ProService’s employee spotlight series that provides personal and professional insight into our rockstar “PROhana”. Today we’re chatting with Seina Rahim.

A 12-year employee with the company, Seina Rahim, CCP, is Payroll Quality Assurance Manager for ProService Hawaii, and is president of the American Payroll Association’s Hawaii Chapter. She was recently a featured speaker at the Hawaii Business Leadership Conference.

We took a few minutes to learn who she is, what she does, and what she’s learned about payroll in her years on the job.

Happy Payroll Week! Why did you choose payroll as a career?

I think most people fall into the payroll profession. It’s not something I sought out to do. I discovered payroll when I was an HR Generalist prior to ProService where I was responsible for a little bit of everything—from recruiting new hires to converting staff to phone system time & attendance, and of course compiling payroll files every other week and commission payments every month.

It wasn’t until I was at ProService that I dove into payroll. That’s when I started to take the profession seriously and became a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP). I liked numbers and solving problems.

Also, HR and payroll ties into a lot of life skills, like learning about taxes and what things are taxed (and not taxed) and why—and going through typical life changes (like getting married, having a child etc.) where these kinds of decisions make a difference—that’s what got me interested.

You’ve been at ProService for more than 12 years. What keeps you here?

It’s a very progressive and fun company for Hawaii. I believe in the core values of our company and our employee promises. I really do believe I’ve been able to make my mark here, and I also have the privilege of working with the most amazing, smart people.

It’s hard work, and I love the challenges. When I started, there were 70-something employees, and now there are more than 300! I’ve loved being part of that growing journey. I’m super excited to continue learning and the future growth of ProService too.

Tell us about your role as the President of the American Payroll Association’s Hawaii Chapter.

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My role is actually relatively new. I got involved with the APA Hawaii Chapter as a means to build the support network of payroll professionals on island. We are autonomous from the APA national organization, and our focus is primarily supporting each other as well as promoting education.

Having people that are schooled in the profession is kind of rare, so we have to grow our own. In the past we offered study groups for FPC and CPP certification every other year, but since I’ve been president we’ve tried to do it on a more consistent basis and have them every year, and we’ve even increased the number of certified professionals in Hawaii.

It can be hard for us here on the islands because flying to the mainland for training is not cost effective for a lot of people. So every year we try to bring in someone from APA national to teach a course. We also have a new website to drive membership and register for events. It’s still relatively new, so we’re learning along the way.

Do you have any personal mottos that you live by?

It’s not really a motto, but I really like the serenity prayer right now. (Laughing) It’s just being able to let go of the things you don’t have control over, and the courage to embrace the things you can, and knowing the difference. It just seems lately that every aspect of my life is full speed ahead!

Where can we find you on a typical weekend?

My son is 10 years old, and soccer season just started; and we’re also just wrapping up our study group session, which meets on Saturdays—that’s actually been quite a time commitment. Other than that I enjoy gardening! I’ve gotten into aquaponics. I like growing things, whether it’s people or plants.

Do you see any common misconceptions about payroll?

When you see what’s on our local news, there are still employers who are not treating employees fairly; or not calculating or paying over-time at all to those who qualify. I think there are misconceptions around the law—if something is an owner’s decision vs. what the law says what an employer can and cannot do.

Also, I think in Hawaii, we’re so unique in so many ways, starting with our islands being physically separated by the ocean. We rely on the postal service a lot. So for example, we can produce a check, but to have your taxes recorded and everything done on a timely basis gets way more complicated. People may not realize that. The best thing an employer can do is offer direct deposit for their employees. That would greatly improve the timeliness and accuracy of getting payment to employees.

What advice do you have for employers about payroll or HR?

Obviously it’s great to work with an HR partner that has experts on staff to handle your questions, including just keeping up with the laws as our world is changing. People today can easily work from multiple states, so it’s all about taxation, and having the proper reporting is critical.

Also, unemployment is low in Hawaii, so employers need to be thinking about creative ways to attract and retain employees, including having the right benefit programs. It takes a lot to keep competitive, especially in Hawaii. An employer might have worked in California or another state and moved their business to Hawaii, and not have realized how different our laws are—e.g. like prepaid health care.

Those are the things some employers are not really aware of. So as our workforce is changing, our managers and supervisors also need to be growing along with it.

Co-Employment Basics: A Quick Guide for Employers

When you hear the term “co-employment,” what comes to mind?

A lot of employers think it means working with a staffing agency, leasing employees, or giving up control over their employees to an outside company. These common misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth.

In this article, we’ll explain how co-employment actually works, and help you understand if it might be a good fit for your business.

Co-Employment Defined

“Co-employment” might sound complicated, but it’s just HR jargon. Co-employment refers to the legal arrangement that lets business owners share certain employer responsibilities (and risks) with an outside partner, called a Professional Employer Organization (PEO).

How does co-employment work?

In a co-employment arrangement, your workers actually have two employers: your business (or organization), and the PEO.

You’ll continue to be responsible for your employees’ daily work functions. Meanwhile, the PEO will take over most or all of the requirements related to keeping people employed, like securing and administering employee benefits, processing payroll, filing employment taxes, and even providing access to learning and development opportunities that help your team grow.

Your employees will see the PEO listed on their paycheck, but they’ll continue to report to you day-to-day.

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What’s my role?

In a co-employment arrangement, you are what’s called the operating employer. As the operating employer, you retain full control over your employees and what they do at work. That includes hiring and firing, managing how employees do their jobs, assigning core job responsibilities, and making decisions about your organizational structure.

Co-employment doesn’t shift your employees to temp status either. Their position within the company will stay the same, and so does their working relationship with you.

What does a PEO do for me?

In a nutshell, the PEO, or administrative employer, takes on a behind-the-scenes role, handling the tasks involved in maintaining your workforce. This includes all the paperwork and responsibilities related to your employees, as well as a significant amount of the risk that comes with being an employer.

Let’s break down exactly what that entails.

  1. Buying power & competitive rates. Your co-employer will take over tasks like securing employee health insurance and voluntary benefits from various carriers, as well as getting you access to the required insurances you need in Hawaii like Workers’ Comp, and TDI. An established PEO can be a large organization that manages thousands of employees, meaning they’re able to leverage their large buying power to offer you quality products at competitive rates usually reserved for large employers.
     
  2. Administrative relief. PEOs will also relieve you of a lot of your administrative burdens, whether it be payroll, benefits administration or the multitude of day-to-day HR tasks that take up your time. They’ll even file your quarterly payroll taxes. And whether it be a Workers’ Compensation claim or an unemployment claim, PEO’s also offer professional claims management support that can significantly reduce your paperwork.
  3. Compliance support. Are you making these common wage and hour mistakes? PEOs can leverage their expertise and legal counsel to help you comply with government requirements and regulations. A PEO’s strategic guidance can help fill expertise gaps missing from your company and ensure your people and your business are following the numerous state and federal rules. 
  4. Shared risk. Lastly, being an employer comes with certain risks. Things like unemployment claims and Workers’ Compensation can be a hit to a business’ bottom line, while a lawsuit by an employee over something like a discrimination claim could be potentially devastating. An employment partner can help manage those risks by ensuring you’re following best practices, handling claims, sharing the responsibility, and providing additional protections like Employment Practices Liability Insurance, or EPLI.

Why should I choose co-employment?

There are many potential upsides to a co-employment arrangement with a PEO. Here’s just a few:

  • A PEO will secure top-notch employee benefits that help you attract and retain your team—all at competitive rates with trusted providers you and your team can depend on.
  • Processing payroll will become a breeze—plus you’ll get to sit back while a PEO files your payroll taxes and W-2s for you.
  • You’ll feel confident that you’re staying on top of reporting and compliance issues, so nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Sharing Workers’ Comp claims and liability with a PEO means you won’t be shouldering the risk or responsibility alone.
  • And ultimately, you’ll find ways to reduce your labor costs and eliminate the mundane HR tasks that steal your focus from the big-picture role of driving your mission & developing your people.

Did we mention? Companies that work with a PEO grow 7-9% faster, have 23-32% lower employee turnover, and are 50% more likely to stay in business, according to the National Association of PEOs.

If you’re ready to offload the administrative tasks and paperwork of being an employer, a co-employment solution might be right for you.

Want to learn more? Get our free e-book, The Employer’s Guide to HR Partnerships in Hawaii, for more info.