Contracting with a Professional Employment Organization (PEO)

If Programs have already identified an individual for employment activities and an Independent Contractor is inappropriate, a PEO is a good option.  A PEO is a Professional Employment Organization that provides employment services, including HR and payroll services, in much the same way as a temporary staffing agency.

Contracting with a PEO provider can be an alternative to collaborating with a local institution or establishing a foreign payroll, and in some cases, it can allow for limited or full employment without triggering registration requirements. In this model, the individual(s) would be employed by the PEO and “leased” to the program. The program would pay the PEO an administrative fee in addition to the salary. The PEO is responsible for compliance with local employment and tax laws including any reporting obligations.  PEOs are generally more experienced than Penn with host-country regulations though Penn may share liability if the PEO fails to comply with the law. If the University can work with a PEO to be the Employer of Record for individuals in the country, then it is possible to employ the individual, considering:

  • What are the total estimated costs associated with hiring a PEO

  • Fees, taxes, and statutory benefits

When to use a PEO?

When the scope, length of project or nature of activity may pose employment compliance concerns.

In addition, a PEO should be used when the work requires:

  • Country sponsorships for visas

  • Authorization approval

  • Other in-country industry requirements