Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
susieQ

Are TPA Firms "Essential"

Recommended Posts

Many cities have issued "shelter-in-place" orders for citizens, closing businesses that are not considered essential.  We are having a hard time determining if our TPA firm meets the Homeland Security definition of essential.  We are purely administration, we are not a CPA firm, do not sell product.  Thoughts? 

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is a gray area. For many TPA's/Plans, the TPA must be involved in approving loan/distribution paperwork for participants to get access to funds. I'd argue that this is indeed essential. But "Officials" (or officious people who like to give orders) may not necessarily agree. It might also depend on the specific definition for a given locality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, processing transactions is one of our duties and what I think most qualifies a TPA as essential.  

Thank you.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To amplify @Belgarath

Homeland Security has issued guidance not mandates on "essential bussinesses". I quote:

"This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard. Additionally, this advisory list is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion."

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps it’s feasible to do something sensible without needing to answer a question of law about what qualifies under a particular State’s or city’s order.

 

Even when one qualifies to allow regular operations at a place of business, many recordkeepers and third-party administrators tell people to work from home.

 

The key exceptions I’ve heard about are sending in:

 

a technician to make sure computer servers, firewalls, and virtual private networks function;

someone to retrieve postal mail that wasn’t rerouted, and scan the items that require immediate action.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our TPA is open although most are able to work from home.  We do distributions, etc. so we are considered essential.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW - our State actually has a method online whereby  you could submit for a determination/designation of whether or not your particular business was essential (on the State website).  Another local TPA did submit a request for determination, which they shared with us.  In the response (which came rather quickly I might add) they were advised that they were considered essential based on the information provided in the application.  There were some caveats that" only those employees necessary to perform the essential functions should be permitted to be present and provided they follow all other guidelines of the Executive Order".     

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our state has deemed Human Resources and professional entities that provides HR services as essential.  As a TPA firm, we believe we do provide HR services and thus have elected to remain open.  Some of our staff have elected to work from home. Some of our staff have elected to work from the office.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TPA is just one of our departments, but we have 150+ that have gone 100% remote with each office location having a few designated people who rotate mail pickup.

If you can go remote, you should.  Our clients are used to face to face meetings but considering the mess around us, everyone accepts it as the new normal (at least for a while).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know now isn't the best time to invent how to get your systems to work while people work from home.

But maybe this should be the event that moves your firm to doing that.

Most of the TPA firm I work for works from home 100% of the time.  I have worked from home since I took my current job back in May of 2012.  You couldn't get me to work for a TPA that doesn't allow me to work from home and/or pays me enough I can live in the same town I work in.  And even if I live in the same town I worked in I would still want to work from home some. 

I will never go back to a 30 min commute again unless I am desperate for a job.   That was my longest commute and it lasted for 16 years and once I stopped doing it I came to realize how much I disliked it.  

Most TPA work can be done remotely in my mind.  

I would add since I started this job and I was the only person in this region we have gained over 8 new clients.  I am not in business development and I didn't do most of the work to get the clients.  But my presents and speaking at local conferences has gotten the firm I work for a lot more exposure and looks from local ESOP companies.  So it has been good for my bottom line and the firm I work for bottom line.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ESOP Guy said:

I will never go back to a 30 min commute

And 30 minutes is what many would consider a great commute...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, susieQ said:

Many cities have issued "shelter-in-place" orders for citizens, closing businesses that are not considered essential.  We are having a hard time determining if our TPA firm meets the Homeland Security definition of essential.  We are purely administration, we are not a CPA firm, do not sell product.  Thoughts? 

Thank you

*I* determined that we meet the financial operations of the MA advisory list, so that's all we need.  If accounting firms are specifically listed, I don't see how we could not fit the same bill.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ESOP Guy said:

I know now isn't the best time to invent how to get your systems to work while people work from home.

But maybe this should be the event that moves your firm to doing that.

Most of the TPA firm I work for works from home 100% of the time.  I have worked from home since I took my current job back in May of 2012.  You couldn't get me to work for a TPA that doesn't allow me to work from home and/or pays me enough I can live in the same town I work in.  And even if I live in the same town I worked in I would still want to work from home some. 

I will never go back to a 30 min commute again unless I am desperate for a job.   That was my longest commute and it lasted for 16 years and once I stopped doing it I came to realize how much I disliked it.  

Most TPA work can be done remotely in my mind.  

I would add since I started this job and I was the only person in this region we have gained over 8 new clients.  I am not in business development and I didn't do most of the work to get the clients.  But my presents and speaking at local conferences has gotten the firm I work for a lot more exposure and looks from local ESOP companies.  So it has been good for my bottom line and the firm I work for bottom line.

I'm with you on that! I love working from home.   I haven't put gas in my car since Feb. 2nd!  I kind of wish I had to since gas is so low right now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...