This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
Justworks is a highly affordable, IRS- and Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC)-certified professional employer organization (PEO). As a PEO, it processes your payroll, files and pays your taxes, and manages your benefits. Aside from granting you access to enterprise-level health benefits packages from major insurers, it has HR consultants available to answer your questions and help you stay compliant. With monthly plans that start at $59 per employee (for the first 49 employees), it’s one of the most reasonably priced PEO services on the market.
Justworks is our top pick in our guide to the best PEO companies for small businesses. Because of its high marks for pricing, payroll, and HR tools, it earned a high score of 4.46 out of 5. It’s well-loved for its easy-to-use interface and reliable PEO services.
However, it didn’t score higher because of its inability to customize reports, limited mobile app features for employers’ on-the-go access, and lack of learning management tools. It’s also worth noting that it offers its time tracking solution as a paid add-on.
What We Recommend Justworks For
We’ve researched many PEO systems and compared each solution’s features and services, and we found that Justworks provides excellent value for the price. In addition to topping our list of best PEO companies, it is among our leading online payroll services. Small businesses with limited HR experience can benefit by having Justworks take on the duties and responsibilities of payroll and benefits management, while those with HR teams can let Justworks take on the administrative tasks while they handle the people side of HR.
In short, Justworks PEO is best for:
- Businesses looking for a PEO with transparent and affordable pricing: Unlike most PEOs, which require you to call and request a quote, Justworks’ pricing is readily available on its website. While some providers charge either a percentage of your total monthly payroll or per-employee fees that can cost more than $100 monthly, Justworks charges $59 per employee monthly for your first 49 workers ($49 per employee monthly for your 50th employee onward).
- Small companies that want to offer high-quality benefit options: Justworks has solid tools for managing your payroll and employee benefits needs. Because it handles benefits for its clients’ 70,000+ employees, Justworks has the purchasing power to negotiate rates and benefits coverages from leading carriers and insurance providers. Thus, it can offer you high-quality health insurance and medical plans from UnitedHealthcare, Kaiser, and Aetna.
- Employers who pay 1099 contractors in addition to W2 employees: Unlike other payroll software and PEO providers that charge monthly fees for contractor payments, Justworks lets you pay contractors at no extra cost. Plus, it handles 1099 filings at year’s end.
- Small or rapidly growing businesses with limited HR personnel and experience: Justworks will take on your HR tasks and responsibilities and provide in-app educational resources, such as sexual harassment prevention training, and access to experts who can offer HR, benefits, and payroll support. While pricing can seem expensive for some, the support and the convenience could be worth it, especially if you have few or no staff members with HR experience.
When Justworks Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Companies in high-risk industries or those with specific needs: Justworks’ reporting and integrations are limited. Industries that need particular reports for compliance may not find what they need. For instance, trucking companies may be better suited to using trucking payroll solutions. Also, businesses in high-risk industries like construction may run into issues getting full liability coverage.
- Large businesses: While Justworks can work with companies with more than 175 employees, its focus is on small businesses. If your business is bigger, Paychex or ADP may be a better fit as they are both built to support large enterprises and have HR payroll software options plus a PEO.
- Expanding businesses needing hiring tools: Justworks does not have recruiting and applicant tracking tools. If you need these solutions, check out some of our HR software picks.
- Businesses needing straight payroll: If Justworks’ PEO service is more than you need, explore our article on how to find a payroll service for your business or read our best payroll services guide to find simpler, cheaper options.
If you’re unsure if Justworks is right for you, see how it compares with our top PEO services.
Justworks Top Alternatives at-a-Glance
Businesses that need HR and information technology (IT) tools with robust integrations
Companies that need diverse benefit options
Growing businesses that want the expertise of a big PEO
Monthly Fees From
One refreshing thing about Justworks’ pricing is that it’s fully transparent—you can easily find it on its website. Most PEOs require you to call for a quote. It also doesn’t impose setup fees, instead charging you per employee, unlike other PEOs that charge as a percentage of your payroll. As a result, Justworks got perfect marks for pricing.
It offers two plans (Basic and Plus), with pricing based on the number of employees you have. Its monthly fees also decrease as you reach a 50-employee headcount.
Pricing and Feature Details
For the first 49 Employees
$59 per employee monthly
$99 per employee monthly
50 or More Employees
$49 per employee monthly
$89 per employee monthly
Regular and Off-Cycle Pay Runs
Vendor and Contractor Payments
Payroll Tax Payments and Filings, Including Year-End Reporting
Online Employee Onboarding
Harassment Prevention and Inclusion Trainings
Workers’ Compensation, Life and Disability Insurance, and 401(k) Plans
Pay by employee
Pay by employee
Fitness Memberships and Health and Wellness Perks
Pay by employee
Pay by employee
Health Advocacy Services, COBRA Administration, and Access to One Medical (as available)
Pay by employee
Medical Insurance, Health Savings Account (HSA)/Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Dental and Vision Insurance Plans
Pay by employee
24/7 Customer Support
*Monthly fees for Justworks’ time tracking solution start at $5 per employee plus a $20 base fee.
Note that Justworks has a two-individual minimum to run payroll. One can be an unpaid owner and the other must either be an hourly/salaried W-2 employee or a part-time W-2 staff member who works 20 or more hours and receives no less than minimum wage.
For companies with high hiring and turnover rates, Justworks’ plans are flexible enough to handle changes in your employee headcount. The provider will only charge you for the actual number of W-2 employees paid through its system. You can also upgrade or downgrade your subscription by informing Justworks (via Slack, chat, email, or phone) that you want to change your plan a month or more before the date when you’d like to make the switch.
Furthermore, Justworks offers flat-rate pricing if you have part-time employees (note that this doesn’t apply to full-time employees). You pay only for months that you have active part-timers. Its system is also flexible enough to determine how many part-time and full-time workers you have, enabling it to automatically bill you the applicable rates for both employee types.
1–49 Part-time Employees
50 or More Part-time Employees
Justworks makes managing payroll and benefits easier, enabling you to focus more on growing your business. It got a perfect score for this criterion because it helps prepare year-end tax reports. Its online delivery, flexible payment schedules, and direct deposit option, as well as local and payroll tax handling (which includes calculating and filing them) also contributed to the score.
Justworks handles both employee and contractor payroll, including vendor payments. You can pay through paper checks, but you have to create and distribute them yourself. It also offers direct deposit payments and even lets your employees split their pay among multiple accounts. Note that if you’re paying via direct deposit, Justworks requires you to approve payroll four days before your designated payday.
In addition to multiple pay frequencies, Justworks supports off-cycle payments and wage garnishments. And in case you receive a garnishment notice, Justworks will process it at no additional charge, but the order must go directly to Justworks and should have its employer identification number (EIN) listed on the notice.
Justworks has a simple online timecard for viewing and editing employee time data. You can choose to have your employees complete the timecards themselves and send this for approval. However, if you’re a QuickBooks Time user, your staff’s actual hours worked can be imported into Justworks.
For seamless integration, consider getting Justworks’ time and attendance solution, Justworks Hours (formerly Boomr). Available as a paid add-on (priced at $5 per user monthly), it comes with overtime alerts, shift scheduling, geo-stamped timekeeping, and mobile apps (for iOS and Android devices) via which your employees can clock in and out.
Once your company’s vacation and sick leave policies have been set up in Justworks, its system can track accruals and help manage PTO requests by notifying the applicable managers via email of transactions for approval. Managers can also view and approve/disapprove the requests they receive directly through its platform.
Payroll Tax Management
Justworks handles all the calculations, filings, and payments for federal, state, and local taxes. Your job, then, is to ensure you give complete and accurate payroll information to Justworks (like cash tips and checks created outside its system).
Justworks got a perfect mark for HR administration tools. It offers all the features you need to manage HR including onboarding and new hire enrollment, employee self-service portal, compliance issues tracking, and benefits administration. It also provides harassment prevention and inclusion training.
New hire onboarding and employee document management are made easier with Justworks’ HR tools. Incoming employees can complete new hire forms, provide direct deposit details, select health insurance plans, and take compliance training online. Documents like employment contracts and handbooks can be uploaded and stored in Justworks. It even has an electronic signature tool, allowing you to send documents that require e-signatures to approvers and identified signatories.
Employees, on the other hand, can access important documents, from W-2s to company policies, through an online portal. They can also request PTO via the portal, and an email will be sent to their manager, who can approve or disapprove the request. Note that there’s no mobile app for employee self-service, except Justworks Hours, but it is solely for timekeeping.
Compliance Tools & Support
Justworks monitors changes in state and federal regulations and keeps you in the loop. It offers compliance reports, such as EEO-1, and even has built-in learning programs (powered by EVERFI) to help you stay within the law. This includes access to sexual harassment prevention training that your employees can watch online.
Justworks also provides compliance support for the following:
- New hire reporting
- Unemployment insurance
- Workers’ compensation
- ACA filings (1094-C and 1095-C)
As a PEO, Justworks folds the employees of all its client businesses under its own EIN for the purpose of providing competitive benefits. It can negotiate pricing and deals based on the strength of 70,000 employees rather than an individual company’s five or 20 workers, bringing you better prices and more comprehensive plans. It even manages and takes responsibility for a 401(k) program, making it possible for small businesses to offer this benefit to their employees.
In addition, Justworks lets you create an employee benefits program and choose the insurance plans you want. While you can mix and match plans, its system can detect whether or not the options you selected can be offered together. In case it sees that your plans’ pricing and coverage are too different from each other, Justworks will restrict you from choosing options that are incompatible with those you have already selected.
Justworks offers these benefits:
- Medical, dental, and vision insurance (through Aetna, United HealthCare, and Kaiser)
- HSA and FSA
- Accidental death and disability insurance
- Life insurance
- 401(k) insurance
- Commuter benefits
- Medical advocacy services
- On-demand primary care services and Teladoc services
- Gym memberships
- Health and wellness perks
For employees, they only need to select benefits options during onboarding, and Justworks handles the rest. And while your staff can only change their plans during your company’s annual benefits enrollment period, those with a qualifying life event (QLE), such as marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, and legal separation/divorce, can make updates to their benefits coverage directly in Justworks. However, they need to submit proof of the QLE within 30 days of the event.
This criterion clearly lowered Jusworks’ overall score. While it offers training for new employees, it doesn’t have a learning management system, plus its time tracking tool costs extra. Justworks also doesn’t offer a recruiting and applicant tracking system.
Justworks got a modest score of 3 out of 5 for this criterion. While it is IRS- and ESAC-certified, it only handles basic payroll and HR reports. Justworks lets users have access to its pre-built reports; however, you can’t create customized reports for your business’ needs.
The only thing that prevented Justworks from getting a perfect score for this criterion is its lack of features in the mobile app for employers. The good thing is that getting started with Justworks is easy. You’ll have an onboarding manager to help you through the process of activating your account, setting up your benefits, and getting your employees on the platform. As part of its PEO services, Justworks helps manage your employee benefits and automatically handles your workers’ compensation, payroll tax filings, and employer practices liability insurance (EPLI).
Here are the top things that make Justworks easy to use:
- Intuitive, easy-to-use interface
- Dedicated onboarding manager
- Access to HR consultants
- Compliance starter guides by state
- In-app help and explainer videos
- Help center with how-to articles
- Benefits management and compliance assistance
- 24/7 support via email, chat, phone, short message service (SMS), and Slack
Justworks prides itself on creating software that is educational and useful. So, it’s loaded with links to helpful articles about points of law and compliance, including explanations of terms you or your employees might not be familiar with. It also has an online resource center that offers how-to articles and helpful guides about benefits and state regulations, among others.
You are even granted access to certified HR professionals who can provide expert advice and best practices on how to manage your workforce. If you need assistance, Justworks has customer support representatives available 24/7, so you can contact someone in the United States anytime you need help.
We consider Justworks as an excellent PEO company due to its reliability. In our expert review, it received a high score because of its strong HR compliance features, quick implementation, and fuss-free opt-out policy. Plus, its software is easy to learn and explore even for non-technical users.
What Users Think About Justworks
|Excellent user interface—attractive and simple||Reports aren’t robust; has limited choices and lacks detailed reports|
|Easy to onboard; little training needed for managers||Time off calculator is too simple|
|Customer service responsive and helpful||Not enough integrations|
Users who left positive Justworks reviews online are satisfied with its system and services. They praised the ease of use of the interface and said that the benefits packages were top rate, especially for small businesses. Several reviewers also commended its support team for providing good service. Most complaints were about needing more—more types of reports, more integrations, more details, and more tools for specific functions.
At the time of publication, Justworks earned the following scores on popular reviews sites:
Justworks is an affordable and highly rated PEO for small businesses. Aside from its online solutions that make it easy to onboard employees, it provides HR, benefits, payroll, and compliance support to ensure that you abide by federal and state regulations. Unlike many PEO providers, Justworks has fully transparent pricing with plans that cater to businesses with fewer than 25 employees and those with more than 175 workers.
Sign up for a Justworks plan today and see how its PEO services and cloud-based tools can help streamline your HR and payroll processes.