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Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Alcott Advisor. Our hope is that you will find meaningful information and resources that you can use to enhance your business.

Each month we will feature at least two “contributing editors,” chosen for their high level of expertise and their commitment to helping small businesses address the many challenges they face. You will also find timely and useful Human Resources information that will help you address your employment-related challenges.

This month’s contributing editors are Clare Sproule, attorney with Epstein, Becker & Green, P.C. and Neil Seiden, Executive Director of Asset Enhancement Solutions. Thanks to both of them for taking the time to contribute. If you are interested in contributing an article to our newsletter, please contact Al Anastasi at 631-420-0100 Ext 313 or


  Intellectual Property, Non-Compete and Confidentiality Agreements

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) assist their clients in many aspects of Human Resources. A major area of concern for many clients is the protection of proprietary information and trade secrets. One tool that is used is to protect products and services, client lists and proprietary information is the Intellectual Property/Non-Compete/Confidentiality Agreement. Depending upon the state in which you do business and have employees, the enforcement of the agreements may vary.

The Intellectual Property/Non-Compete/Confidentiality agreement is a standard document for employees in many industries. There are other organizations where employees have never been asked to sign one. Since the agreements are drafted using firm language, it’s advisable to tell job candidates if you require employees to sign an agreement as a condition of employment. You may want to let candidates read your agreement and ask questions.

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  Employers should have policies for withholding payment of unused vacation, sick, personal time, etc. for terminated employees?

Employees may leave organizations under circumstances where they may have turned in a poor performance, resigned without notice or engaged in behavior that warranted immediate termination of their position. In the absence of a clearly defined policy that outlines how vacation, sick, personal and paid time off is managed upon termination of employment, employers may want to withhold payment of earned, unused paid time off and this may cause problems.

In New York State, earned unused paid time off is viewed as unpaid wages. Unless you have a policy that specifies if and how you pay earned, unused paid time off when an employee leaves your organization, you may have to pay it out under undesirable circumstances. You may design your policy around your organization’s needs. For example . . .

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  The New York Professional Employer Act
Contributed by Clare Sproule of Epstein, Becker & Green, P.C.

On September 24, 2002, Governor George E. Pataki signed into law legislation requiring Professional Employer Organizations (“PEOs”) to register with the Department of Labor. This law, commonly referred to as the “New York Professional Employer Act” adds a new Article 31 to the Labor Law, and was effective as of March 23, 2003. The intent of the statute is to clearly define the rights and responsibilities of PEOs in New York, as the state legislature expressly recognized that PEOs “provide a valuable service to commerce and the citizens of the state.”

For those that may not know what a PEO does, it is a company that operates as an outside “human resources department” for it clients. The PEO and its client company enter into a “professional employer agreement”[i] in order to allocate some traditional employer responsibilities and liabilities . . .

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Clare M. Sproule is an attorney with Epstein, Becker & Green’s New York office, where she practices labor and employment law, providing advice and counsel and represents management in both traditional labor matters and employment litigation. She may be reached at 212-351-4500 or via email at


  "Look Beyond Traditional Lenders for Alternative Financing"
By Neil A. Seiden, Managing Director, Asset Enhancement Solutions, LLC

What do companies with excess inventory and excess capacity, as well lacking in credit worthiness necessary to borrow from a commercial bank have in common? For many of these companies, traditional institutions will not touch them with a ten- foot pole. However, what may not be attractive to one institution may look good to other companies that have the flexibility to be more creative.

Due to regulatory requirements, banks must be conservative and generally do not lend to companies with consecutive years losses, capital deficiencies and those that are too highly leveraged. The good news is that there are many non-traditional financing sources that are very creative and flexible and specialize in distressed and special situations. These lenders, including asset based lenders, real estate lenders, inventory lenders and equipment lenders, seek a position situation in a Company’s collateral.

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Neil A. Seiden helps companies improve their cash flow through the sourcing of appropriate financing, expense reduction and cash conservation. He can be reached at 516-767-0100 or via email at


  "LIFT and Alcott: A Classic Outsourcing Partnership"

For the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT), outsourcing of employee services to The Alcott Group (Farmingdale, NY) in 1995 was one of the not-for-profit organization’s best decisions.

According to LIFT Executive Director Patricia Howley, “Using a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to effectively manage all of our employee-related functions was a classic outsourcing decision. We knew that as a small organization we could not afford to bring in the high level of expertise, services and benefits that an organization such as Alcott could offer us. Further, in view of rapidly changing workplace legislation; the associated risks and responsibilities, it was in our best interest to outsource this complex area to Alcott.”

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For additional information on Alcott, visit:
For additional information on LIFT, visit:


  The Alcott Group welcomes your questions regarding matters of concern to you and your employees. Click Ask the HR Experts to submit your question. We will make every effort to respond to your question in a timely manner. If we choose to feature your question in an upcoming newsletter, we will first contact you for permission and will protect your privacy by eliminating any reference to you or your company.

Following is a question posed by another business owner.

What documentation should we use to determine eligibility for our Domestic Partner Health Insurance coverage?

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Is a PEO Right for You?
Take Alcott’s SELF EVALUATION to learn if your company is a candidate for HR Outsourcing.

Complimentary HR Strategy Evaluation:
Is your HR shop in order? Do you have a focused HR strategy or is it something you just can’t seem to get to? Alcott’s on-sight evaluation will help you create an actionable plan for addressing one of your most critical business processes. Click here to learn more.

Networking News:
Ronald McDonald House of Long Island: Annual Networking Event
When: April 28, 2004 5:00PM – 8:00PM No charge
Where: 267-07 76th Ave., New Hyde Park, NY 11042

Network with other LI/Metro area businesses and learn how the House is serving the increasing needs of your community. Last year’s event drew over 200 guests.
RSVP to Rita Faber at (718) 343-5683 Ext. 32 or via email –

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is a "home away from home" providing comfort and shelter to families experiencing the pain of having a sick child in an area hospital.

NAPEO Celebrates 20 Years of Building an Industry

In 1984, the first “hire-fire-leaseback” business was formed. While it has little resemblance to today’s Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), it is recognized as the forerunner and the catalyst to the development of an entire industry. Standing behind that concept and industry development was one organization, the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO). Today, NAPEO celebrates its 20th year in business and a legacy of achievements marked by rising to challenges and creating new opportunities.

Among the many challenges facing this now burgeoning industry were those of a regulatory nature, and those relating to failures of self-funded PEO health plans and the paychecks of working Americans bounced from the accounts of financially-failed PEOs. Key among the many opportunities leveraged by this organization was the development of PEO services into a total HR outsourcing solution for growing businesses. PEOs now provide thousands of companies and their many employees with a wide range of services from payroll administration, tax administration, benefits and insurance plan designs to workplace legislation compliance, employee handbooks and expert advice on topics ranging from employee discipline, firing and hiring to worker’s compensation and value-added employee services such as tuition reimbursement and adoption assistance.
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