Gusto payroll review 2024:Features, Pros & Cons

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Gusto payroll review 2024:Features, Pros & Cons
Starting price$40 per month, plus $6 per month per person
Benefits administrationYes
Contractor paymentsYes
Wed Mastery Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Our Verdict

Gusto payroll review 2024 : Gusto stands out as an all-in-one solution for startups and small businesses seeking efficient payroll software and streamlined HR administration. This platform adeptly manages the intricate aspects of payroll processing and benefits administration, freeing up valuable time for business owners. Gusto covers payroll for both employees and contractors while also offering a range of employee benefits including health and retirement plans. Additionally, it provides supplementary features like automated charitable contributions and a flexible wallet system empowering employees with greater control over their finances.

Pros👍

  1. Transparent pricing structure
  2. Flexibility with three customizable plans to accommodate evolving business requirements-
  3. Unlimited payroll runs, ensuring seamless payment processing-
  4. Capability to manage both domestic and international contractor payroll-
  5. Incorporation of charitable giving benefits into the platform-
  6. Provision of college savings benefits for employees-
  7. Automated tax filing and compliance guidance for effortless regulatory adherence-
  8. Integration of employee financial wellness tools to promote financial literacy and stability.

Cons👎

  1. Absence of a free trial option for prospective users-
  2. Per-person pricing model becomes expensive as the business scales up-
  3. Lack of invoicing or accounts receivable functionalities within the platform-
  4. Significant reliance on manual data entry processes upfront-
  5. Inconsistencies in syncing benefits and time-off data across the platform-
  6. Absence of automated workflows for streamlining tasks-
  7. Inability to process international employee payroll through the system-
  8. Limited functionality and features in the mobile application

Gusto Ratings At a Glance

In the realm of payroll software, Gusto stands out as a formidable competitor. It presents a balanced array of features and has garnered a commendable reputation among HR professionals spanning various sectors.

Based on our experts’ evaluation, Gusto Payroll earned an impressive overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars, attributed to the following factors:

FeaturesExcellent. Gusto does what most professionals need it to do, which is centralizing HR and accounting data and documents.
Value for MoneyGood. Gusto’s monthly pricing structure makes it less cost-effective than some of its competitors
PopularityExcellent. Gusto boasts high ratings on review aggregator sites and is a respected brand name.
Ease of UseExcellent. Gusto is simple enough to use even if you aren’t tech-savvy.

What is Gusto?

Gusto is a comprehensive payroll and HR solution meticulously crafted to support the expansion of startups and small businesses operating within the United States.

Every Gusto account offers the flexibility of automated or manual payroll processing for both employees and contractors across all 50 U.S. states. Additionally, it includes features such as self-service profiles for employees or contractors, the choice between two- or four-day direct deposit, as well as robust capabilities for employee onboarding and benefits administration.

How Gusto Works

To get started with the Gusto platform, you initiate by inputting all pertinent company data, which encompasses tax details, benefit information, bank account particulars, and any desired third-party app integrations.

Following this, Gusto offers a concise questionnaire aimed at guiding you towards selecting the most suitable plan among its three offerings tailored to your business requirements. Subsequently, you proceed to input employee details including pay rates, direct deposit preferences, and any applicable withholdings, which constitutes the most labor-intensive aspect of the setup process.

Although the initial setup may demand considerable time, particularly contingent upon the number of employees, once all data is captured, Gusto’s automated functionalities come into play, significantly streamlining subsequent processes. Thereafter, your primary task involves entering employee hours on a weekly or biweekly basis, with Gusto seamlessly handling payroll processing.

What Sets Gusto Apart

Gusto distinguishes itself from competitors with two notable features: Firstly, its capability to accommodate various types of employees for payment processing. Secondly, it provides tools geared towards aiding employees in achieving their financial objectives.

Domestic and International Contractor Payments

Given the surge in the gig economy, businesses frequently engage both full-time W-2 employees and independent contractors, both domestically and internationally. Gusto’s payroll system is designed with the versatility to accommodate the diverse pay rates and schedules associated with different categories of workers within your organization.

Financial Wellness With Gusto Wallet App

Gusto’s Wallet app serves as a mobile application aimed at monitoring payment history, logged hours, and additional features. While access to the Wallet app is included in all plans, the extent of functionality varies depending on the chosen plan. Through the Gusto Wallet app, full-time employees can:

With Gusto’s Wallet app, full-time employees can conveniently:-

  1. Easily view a detailed breakdown of each paycheck.-
  2. Establish high-yield savings accounts to enhance their earnings beyond regular paychecks.-
  3. Allocate paychecks into multiple accounts to facilitate progress towards savings objectives.-
  4. Create up to five personalized financial goals tailored to their needs.- Effortlessly manage time-off requests.-
  5. Clock in and out and monitor hours worked (available in Premium and Plus plans only).

Gusto Features

Gusto offers a comprehensive set of essential features to streamline your HR processes:-

  1. Payroll: Easily manage payroll for your team.-
  2. Benefits Administration: Simplify the management of employee benefits.-
  3. Time Tracking: Keep track of your team’s hours effortlessly.-
  4. Tax Compliance: Ensure compliance with tax regulations without the hassle.-
  5. Onboarding: Smoothly onboard new hires into your company.-
  6. Analytics and Reporting: Gain valuable insights into your HR data with robust analytics and reporting tools.-
  7. Employee Self-Service: Empower your employees with self-service options for managing their information.

1.Gusto payroll

Running employee payroll through Gusto is a breeze, tailored to suit your company’s unique requirements. Within an employee’s profile, you can easily specify either a salary or hourly wage, and then opt for Gusto’s autopilot feature, allowing payroll to run automatically according to your chosen schedule.

Setting up a payroll schedule is a straightforward process. Gusto simplifies it by offering suggested schedules, which you can easily confirm. Additionally, you’ll just need to verify state tax details based on where your employees are located.

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When manually running payroll through Gusto, the process unfolds seamlessly in three simple steps. Initially, you review the hours worked and earnings for all employees. Next, you enter any paid time off taken by employees during the pay period, and this is also where you can approve or decline pending time-off requests. Lastly, Gusto allows you to preview the payroll run in the third step before finalizing and submitting payroll. Upon submission, Gusto provides confirmation that your payroll has been successfully submitted.

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When it comes to paying contractors, whether they’re based domestically or internationally, the process is a bit more hands-on compared to W-2 workers. You’ll need to manually input the pay rates and amounts, as they don’t automatically populate. However, the process is still straightforward—simply input the necessary information and click “submit” to complete the payment.

For those paid by check, Gusto generates the checks for you, but there’s a manual step involved in printing them. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option for automatic printing and mailing of physical paychecks through the platform.

Tax Filing

Gusto handles the hassle of calculating and filing payroll taxes for both you and your employees, ensuring peace of mind come tax season. Additionally, employees can conveniently access their pay stubs through their online profiles, with the added convenience of receiving email notifications on payday.

As part of the setup process, Gusto takes care of filing employee W-4s and contractor W-9s, streamlining administrative tasks. Moreover, each January, Gusto generates and distributes W-2 and 1099 forms for tax returns, simplifying the tax-filing process for everyone involved. Additionally, you have the option to opt for Gusto to automatically file a new hire report in an employee’s state upon their hiring, further reducing administrative burdens.

Recruiting and Onboarding

Gusto offers its own native applicant tracking tool, accessible to Gusto Plus and Premium customers. However, if you opt for the Simple plan, you can seamlessly integrate an external Applicant Tracking System (ATS) like JazzHR or Greenhouse.

With Gusto, onboarding new employees is a breeze, whether they’re joining your team in person or remotely. The platform streamlines the onboarding process with features such as background checks, benefit enrollment, e-signatures, and state tax registration—all within a cloud-based environment

.Adding employees or independent contractors manually is straightforward on Gusto. You simply enter their essential details like name, email address, and other pertinent information. The platform even offers a convenient checkbox option to invite the added individuals to complete the remaining information themselves. However, for companies with extensive hiring needs, manually entering multiple individuals could become a bit tedious.

Gusto’s software is designed with ample personalization features to help integrate new hires seamlessly into the team. From sending digital offer letters to setting up birthday reminders, the platform fosters connections with employees, regardless of their location.

Creating offer letter templates on Gusto is incredibly user-friendly and efficient. You can easily customize a template by giving it a name, such as “Sales Development Manager.” Then, you personalize the offer letter using built-in fields that automatically adjust based on the new employee’s details like name and compensation. Finally, you add the company signature to formalize the offer, saving significant time and effort in the process.

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Once a new employee signs their offer letter, Gusto takes the reins to streamline the remaining onboarding tasks, ensuring they’re fully prepared for their new role even before day one. Additionally, Gusto offers the option to send a digital welcome card, fostering a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the new employee.

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Benefits Administration

When exploring Gusto’s benefits section, we appreciate its recommendations for various employee benefits, including health, commuter, life insurance, and retirement plans.

At Gusto, we offer a range of employee benefits to support your team’s well-being:-

  1. Health Benefits: Easily purchase group health, dental, and vision insurance plans directly through Gusto’s platform. Employees can conveniently opt in or out of these benefits online. Additionally, you can administer flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts seamlessly.-
  2. Wellness Benefits: Customize benefits like housing or wellness stipends to enhance your employees’ paychecks. Gusto automatically handles the tracking and taxation of these benefits.-
  3. Commuter Benefits: Manage commuter stipends or company car perks efficiently.-
  4. Life Insurance: Purchase employee life insurance plans through Gusto and manage benefits effortlessly on the platform. Employees have the flexibility to opt in or out of this benefit online.-
  5. Retirement Benefits: Administer various retirement plans, including Traditional and Roth 401(k) options, with ease through Gusto’s platform.

Gusto extends its offerings beyond the standard HR platform benefits by including features focused on college savings, financial wellness, and charitable giving:-

  1. College Savings: Through a partnership with Gradvisor, Gusto facilitates a 529 college savings plan, enabling employees to make post-tax contributions towards building savings for their children’s college tuition.-
  2. Financial Wellness: With the Gusto Wallet app, employees gain access to more than just a self-service portal. They can effortlessly allocate their paychecks into different accounts or cash cards, track their spending, and access high-interest-yielding savings accounts, all aimed at promoting financial well-being.-
  3. Charitable Giving: Gusto simplifies charitable giving by allowing employees to automate donations directly from their paychecks to their chosen charities. Employers can opt to match a percentage of employee donations, with the ability to set per-employee match limits, amplifying the impact of their contributions and fostering a culture of philanthropy within the organization.

Setting up a gym wellness benefit in Gusto was a breeze for us. All we needed to do was give the benefit a name, specify the employee and employer contribution amounts for each pay period, and we were good to go. However, when adding employees to the benefit, we found that we had to manually enter the deduction amounts each time, which could be a bit time-consuming.

As an admin, you have access to an overview of all active benefits offered by your company. This summary provides details about each benefit, including its terms and conditions, as well as the number of eligible and enrolled employees, giving you a comprehensive snapshot of your company’s benefit offerings.

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However, we observed that when accessing the benefits section of an employee’s profile or generating a benefits enrollment report, their benefits were not displayed. Surprisingly, though, the benefits did appear from the employee’s perspective when they navigated to their own profile.

Time Tools

Within Gusto, the Time Tools module encompasses both time off management and time-tracking functionalities. In the time management section, Gusto offers suggestions for common time off policies such as paid time off, sick leave, and holiday paid leave. Alternatively, you have the flexibility to create your own customized time off policy. Whether you opt for an existing policy or craft a new one, Gusto provides a user-friendly, step-by-step process to guide you through the setup.

When setting up a policy in Gusto, you’ll go through a simple process that involves:

1. Choosing the type of policy it is—whether it’s for paid time off, sick leave, or holiday paid leave.

2. Giving the policy a name that reflects its purpose or designation.

3. Selecting which employees the new policy should apply to, ensuring it aligns with your company’s guidelines and requirements.

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Once you’ve set up your new policy in Gusto, it seamlessly appears in the time off dashboard. We found the process of configuring time off policies to be straightforward, and we appreciated Gusto’s suggestions for various policy types.

From an employee’s perspective, accessing accrued and used time off is easily done through the web browser version of Gusto. To request time off in the browser, employees select from 12 different time-off types—such as bereavement, sick leave, or parental leave—before entering the requested dates and an optional memo. However, in the Gusto Wallet app, requesting time off is even simpler as there’s no need to select the time-off type beforehand.

On the admin side, we encountered some limitations. While pending time off requests were visible on the main dashboard, clicking on them redirected us to the main time off page, without displaying the specific requests. It seems that the time off management features might function more effectively in the Plus or Premium plans.

For Gusto Plus and Premium customers, time tracking tools are included for payroll or project tracking purposes. Employees and contractors can conveniently track their hours using the Gusto Wallet app, with their hours seamlessly syncing up with payroll. Although these features are exclusive to Gusto Plus or Premium plans, Simple plan users can integrate with external time tracking tools like Deputy, Homebase, and QuickBooks Time for similar functionality.

Reporting

Gusto provides a comprehensive reports library covering various categories such as time tracking, contractors, and payroll, among others. Additionally, users can effortlessly generate custom reports related to employee information or payroll by selecting the specific variables they wish to include. This flexibility ensures that businesses can generate reports tailored to their unique needs with ease.

Employee Self-Service

Gusto empowers employees with individual profile accounts, granting them easy access to manage their own information. Whether through the Gusto mobile app or web browser, employees can conveniently view payday data, edit tax details, check available paid time off (PTO), and even clock in and out directly from their phones. Moreover, the platform provides valuable income insights and grants access to essential tax documents like W-2s.

From an employee’s perspective, testing out Gusto was a seamless experience. We found it effortless to update personal details, enroll in benefits, and perform other necessary tasks with just a few clicks.

Compliance

Gusto offers a convenient solution to ensure compliance with local labor laws through its labor law poster store. With this feature, you can easily print labor law posters for on-site employees or send e-notices to remote employees, helping you meet regulatory requirements effortlessly. Moreover, the service automatically keeps you updated on any changes to the law and alerts employees accordingly, ensuring ongoing compliance. The service is available for $10 per month for up to five employees, with an additional cost of $1 per additional employee per month.

Additionally, Gusto provides built-in compliance features for essential regulations such as ACA, COBRA, HIPAA, and ERISA within its benefits administration platform. This ensures that your benefits administration processes adhere to the necessary legal standards, offering peace of mind and minimizing compliance risks for your organization.

Gusto Payroll Pricing and Plans

Gusto provides three distinct plans tailored to meet the payroll needs of businesses managing both full-time employees and contractors.

  1. Simple: Designed for startups and small businesses operating within a single state, the Simple plan offers basic HR functionalities, making it an ideal choice for those seeking straightforward payroll management.
  2. Plus: With Gusto’s Plus package, suitable for businesses hiring across multiple U.S. states, you’ll receive dedicated support to efficiently manage HR tasks, ensuring smooth operations across different regions.
  3. Premium: Gusto’s top-tier plan offers enhanced support and automation, catering to the needs of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) by providing advanced features for efficient HR to.

For businesses solely managing contractors, Gusto offers a Contractor plan priced at $6 per month per person.

Regardless of the plan you select, Gusto offers the flexibility to switch between plans or cancel anytime to accommodate any changes in your business needs.

PlansPricing
Simple$40 per month + $6 per person paid
Plus$80 per month + $12 per person paid
PremiumCustom based on your business size

For more information about Gusto’s pricing: Gusto Pricing Plans Guide

Additional Features Worth Noting

Gusto offers additional perks that enhance the platform’s versatility and appeal to companies and employees across various industries.

Expense Management

Gusto provides HR teams with the capability to facilitate one-off, reimbursable expenses for various purposes like work-from-home stipends or travel expenses.

For employees, initiating an expense reimbursement request is incredibly straightforward. They can easily upload a receipt and include a memo to clarify the nature of the payment.

As the admin, you have visibility into outstanding expense reimbursement requests directly from the dashboard. By navigating to the expenses module, you can efficiently manage these requests by approving or denying them individually or in bulk, streamlining the process to save time. Once approved, the reimbursement is automatically disbursed to the employee in their next paycheck.

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Admins also have the flexibility to utilize Gusto’s default expense categories or create customized ones to suit their specific needs. Default categories provided by Gusto include “Car and Mileage,” “Meals and Entertainment,” and several others, offering a comprehensive range of options to accurately categorize expenses.

Integrations

Gusto seamlessly integrates with leading accounting software such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Xero, as well as with numerous other business apps and software commonly used for tasks like hour tracking, record-keeping, employee training, or performance reviews.

Moreover, in addition to its user-friendly integrations, Gusto offers potential discounts on popular apps. For instance, as of the current date, Gusto provides incentives such as three months free for restaurant scheduling software 7shifts and a 25% discount on Breezy HR plans, among other enticing offers.

Additional Admins

You have the flexibility to grant access to your company’s Gusto administration to either an internal employee or an external individual, such as a hired HR, accounting, or bookkeeping professional. This allows them to access the necessary information without the need for intermediaries, streamlining the process and ensuring efficient management of your company’s payroll and HR tasks.

Gusto Customer Service and Support

Gusto provides multiple avenues for customer support, including chat, email, and phone. However, it’s important to note that phone support is available exclusively on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT. Customers enrolled in the Premium plan benefit from priority support, allowing them to bypass waiting queues when they call. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that there is no 24/7 phone support offered by Gusto.

Gusto Safety and Security

Gusto places a strong emphasis on security to safeguard its users’ data. Its tech teams conduct regular software testing to prevent any potential issues or outages, with an on-site security team readily available to address any emerging concerns promptly.

Employing industry-standard encryption protocols, Gusto ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data transmission, bolstering overall security measures. Additionally, the platform actively monitors user accounts and promptly notifies users of any suspected fraudulent activity, ensuring proactive protection against potential threats.

Gusto Alternatives and How They Compare

Gusto
Wed Mastery Rating⭐⭐⭐⭐
Starting Price $40 per month plus $6 per user, per month
U.S. PayrollYes
Global PayrollContractor only
OnboardingYes
Tax FilingYes
Benefits AdministrationYes
Time TrackingYes
Expense ManagementYes
Workflow AutomationsNo
Mobile AppsLimited to Wallet app, iOS and Android
Reporting and AnalyticsYes
Third-party IntegrationsYes
Error-free GuaranteeNo
Customer SupportPhone, chat, email, service levels vary by plan
Learn MoreOn Gusto’s Website
Read Reviews👇

Gusto vs. ADP RUN

ADP’s small business solution, RUN, is tailored for companies with fewer than 50 employees, offering customizable plans to suit individual needs. With features like automatic tax filing, comprehensive reports, and user-friendly employee payroll management, RUN aims to streamline business operations effectively. Additionally, it provides optional add-ons for marketing and legal assistance to further support businesses.

However, compared to Gusto, ADP’s pricing structure is more intricate, and additional costs can accumulate swiftly. Additional fees may apply for benefits administration and time tracking functionalities, which could potentially increase overall expenses for businesses.

For a more detailed comparison, check out: Gusto vs. ADP

Gusto vs. Paychex Flex

Paychex Flex is designed with simplicity in mind, catering to the needs of small businesses seeking a straightforward payroll software solution without unnecessary complexities. The platform offers three customizable plans, seamless integrations with accounting software, and a convenient self-service employee portal where employees can access their pay stubs and tax forms.

However, in comparison to Gusto, Paychex Flex is more basic in its offerings, meaning additional charges may apply for services such as W-2 and 1099 filing and time tracking functionalities. For businesses prioritizing simplicity and ease of use, Paychex Flex provides a reliable solution tailored to their needs.

See a more detailed comparison here: Gusto vs. Paychex

Gusto vs. OnPay

OnPay stands out as an all-in-one payroll and HR solution tailored to the needs of small businesses. One of its key features is an error-free tax guarantee, ensuring accurate tax filings. Additionally, OnPay boasts robust benefits administration functionalities, enhancing its appeal to businesses seeking comprehensive HR solutions.

While OnPay offers transparent and straightforward pricing, it lacks customization options in its plans. This may not be suitable for businesses requiring flexibility in selecting specific features. Despite this limitation, OnPay remains a reliable choice for small businesses looking for a user-friendly payroll and HR solution.

See how Gusto stacks up against other providers: 7 Top Gusto Competitors & Alternatives.

Our Expert Opinion

Gusto is an excellent option for startups and small businesses aiming to streamline their payroll processes with automation while ensuring compliance. It serves as a foundational platform that allows businesses to expand their offerings gradually, encompassing solutions for benefits, time tracking, and beyond.

Ease to Use

We conducted a trial of Gusto’s Simple plan features, utilizing the Google Chrome browser on a Windows laptop and the Gusto Wallet app on an Android mobile device. Our testing was somewhat constrained as it necessitated inputting genuine bank account details and signing into external accounts.

From our exploration within the platform, Gusto impressively guides users through payroll and benefits management, alleviating the complexity often associated with these processes. Its structured approach ensures tasks are completed in the correct sequence, minimizing the risk of overlooking crucial steps.

However, we noted certain drawbacks during our testing. Payroll processing and adding new team members demand extensive manual data entry upfront. Additionally, we found customization options for reporting, templates, and the dashboard to be somewhat limited.

Is Gusto Right for Me?

Gusto is crafted specifically for dynamic startups and evolving small businesses. It emerged in response to a market demand for payroll solutions accommodating businesses with significant contractor-based operations, and it continues to excel in catering to such enterprises.

Gusto Is Best For

  1. – Ideal for small businesses employing a blend of full-time employees and independent contractors, both domestically and internationally.
  2. – Tailored for businesses seeking flexibility in selecting plans and add-ons that align with their current requirements.
  3. – Designed to accommodate the dynamic needs of small businesses, offering scalability as they grow and evolve.
  4. – Provides comprehensive solutions for payroll, benefits administration, and HR management, catering to various business models and structures.
  5. – Offers customizable plans and add-ons, allowing businesses to tailor their solutions according to their unique circumstances and preferences.
  1. – Suited for companies hiring W-2 employees beyond the borders of the United States, facilitating payroll and HR management for an international workforce.-
  2. Ideal for businesses requiring comprehensive performance management and employee engagement tools to foster productivity and satisfaction among their workforce.
  3. – Offers a range of features to support performance evaluation, goal setting, feedback mechanisms, and employee development initiatives.
  4. – Provides tools for tracking key performance metrics, conducting performance reviews, and implementing strategies to enhance employee engagement and retention.
  5. – Enables companies to effectively manage their global workforce while prioritizing performance and engagement to drive organizational success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Which payroll software is best?

The best payroll software for your company depends on your business size and needs. Top payroll services for small businesses include ADP RUN, Paychex Flex and Gusto. Get the detailed breakdown of the best payroll software.

2. What is Gusto good for?

Gusto is a payroll and HR platform suited for startups and small businesses that employ a mix of employees and contractors and want to automate HR tasks as much as possible.

3. Is Gusto a reputable company?

Gusto is the brand name for the platform operated by the company ZenPayroll, Inc. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (although neither Gusto nor ZenPayroll is accredited with the organization, a paid service). It launched as ZenPayroll in California in 2012 as part of the startup incubator Y Combinator, and it’s been available in all 50 states since 2015. It’s been backed by reputable investors valued at $9.5 billion as of August 2021.

4. Does Gusto have an app?

Gusto has an employee-facing mobile app called Gusto Wallet. Employees can use Gusto Wallet to manage their profiles, view pay information and insights and access Gusto’s other financial tools. The app is available on Android and Apple devices

5. Does Gusto integrate with QuickBooks

Gusto syncs payroll, taxes and wages data directly to QuickBooks to make accounting even easier.

6. Does Gusto have time tracking?

Yes, but only on the Plus and Premium plans. On those plans, both hourly and salaried nonexempt employees can track their hours. For additional options, check out the best time tracking software

7. Does Gusto offer health insurance?

Gusto is not a health insurance company but can help you manage your employee health insurance benefits. You can offer the same health insurance you offer now with Gusto, or Gusto can act as your broker to find you new options.

8. Does Gusto offer workers’ compensation?

Gusto allows you to easily enroll in workers’ compensation insurance through its platform through an integration with NEXT Insurance. For more options, browse our roundup of best workers’ compensation insurance providers.

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