The TriNet Zenefits logo.
Image: TriNet

Zenefits’ comprehensive people management platform combines payroll with crucial HR features like benefits management, time and attendance tracking, onboarding and HR compliance. It’s ideal for small and midsize businesses that want to tackle every HR task on the same streamlined system instead of juggling different tools for each process.

SEE: Choosing a payroll service: A guide for business leaders (TechRepublic Premium)

However, Zenefits, also known as Trinet Zenefits, isn’t the right pick for every business. Whether you’re looking for a less expensive alternative or you’d prefer a payroll-focused system to a total HR management solution, there are plenty of software options available, including the six we’ve reviewed below.

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Top Zenefits competitors and alternatives: Comparison table

Whether you opt for Zenefits or one of its competitors, your people management system should automatically withhold payroll taxes and remit them to the correct agency, automatically deposit employee paychecks, and sync time and attendance data with payroll. If you have a global workforce, don’t bother looking at vendors that don’t support international employee management.

VendorAutomatic tax withholding and remittanceDirect depositTime and attendanceInternational payrollStarting monthly price
ZenefitsYesYesYesNo$8 per employee
RipplingYesYesYesYes$8 per employee
GustoYesYesYesYes (contractors only)$40 plus $6 per employee
Papaya GlobalYesYesYesYes$12 per employee
JustworksYesYesYesNo$59 per employee
PaychexYesYesYesYes (through a third party)$39 plus $5 per employee
BambooHRYesYesYesYes (through a third party)Contact for quote

Top Zenefits competitors

Below, we compare six of the best Zenefits alternatives, including their features, pros, cons and prices.

Rippling: Best for tech-heavy businesses

The Rippling logo.
Image: Rippling

Like Zenefits, Rippling’s people management solution is an all-in-one platform that lets you manage payroll, benefits, HR, hiring and time tracking. Rippling was founded by Zenefits’ former CEO, Parker Conrad, so the two platforms have fairly similar features.

Unlike Zenefits, however, Rippling also includes remote device management, financial services like employee expense management and inventory management. Rippling’s tech features make it ideal for businesses that rely heavily on technology, especially companies managing a global workforce. In contrast to Zenefits, which is specific to the United States, Rippling’s employee management functionality is international.


  • Automatic payroll tax calculation, withdrawal and filing.
  • IT services for remote device management, GDPR data security compliance, password management and more.
  • Built-in time and attendance tracking.
  • Employee self-service.
  • Thorough automation of most payroll, HR and IT tasks.
  • Employee benefits administration.


  • General ledger integration and automatic syncing save time and keep your business’s financial information up to date.
  • Fully customizable plans let you choose only the tools your business needs.
  • Scalable software can accommodate businesses from two to 2,000 employees.
  • All-in-one platform ensures you can handle most payroll and HR tasks on the same operating system.


  • Limited pricing information on the site can make Rippling appear cheaper than it actually is.
  • Mixed customer service reviews.
  • Steep software learning curve.
  • No free trial.


It isn’t clear from a casual glance at Rippling’s pricing information that the software has a base fee — but it does. Third-party sites like Forbes list that monthly base price as $35, which is fairly typical for payroll and HR software. Each module you choose adds a per-employee fee to your monthly price. Payroll, for instance, starts at $8 per person per month. Apart from payroll, no other pricing information is listed on Rippling’s site.

Gusto: Best payroll software tool

The Gusto logo.
Image: Gusto

Gusto is a payroll-first software tool with a handful of HR features, including benefits administration and employee onboarding. Its full-service payroll solution fully automates most aspects of payroll. It automatically calculates employee paychecks, withholds and remits payroll taxes, pays employees through direct deposit, and generates end-of-year tax forms for your employees, contractors and the IRS.

As one of the most popular payroll tools for small- and medium-sized businesses, Gusto integrates with hundreds of accounting and HR software products. If you care less about having one integrated platform for all your HR and payroll tasks and more about finding the best individual solution for each task, Gusto will likely work better for you than an all-in-one platform like Rippling or Zenefits.


  • Full-service payroll tax calculation and remittance.
  • Global contractor payments.
  • Employee benefits administration.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance integration.
  • Employee self-service via the Gusto Wallet app.


  • No monthly base fee for businesses that pay contractors only.
  • Autopilot feature for automatic payroll runs.
  • User-friendly dashboard.
From Gusto’s dashboard, employers can set payroll to run automatically, view their payroll history, and view payroll and tax reports.
Image: Gusto. From Gusto’s dashboard, employers can set payroll to run automatically, view their payroll history, and view payroll and tax reports.


  • Health insurance coverage is limited to 37 U.S. states.
  • No mobile app for employers.
  • Limited HR features.
  • Compliance alerts are available only with the most expensive plan.


All three of Gusto’s plans include basic full-service payroll features like automatic tax withholding, employee self-service and accounting software integration.

  • Simple focuses on payroll tools and starts at $40 a month plus $6 per employee.
  • Plus adds a handful of HR features like org charts and PTO approval. It starts at $80 a month plus $12 per employee.
  • Premium has the most HR features of any Gusto plan. Its price is customizable.

Papaya Global: Best for international payroll

The Papaya Global logo.
Image: Papaya Global

Papaya Global’s comprehensive platform includes payroll, payments and global HR features that can be used to manage and pay employees in more than 160 countries. The software automates most aspects of hiring, from onboarding to benefits selection. Its workflows, payments, benefits and payroll runs can all be tailored to each employee’s location.

Papaya is one of the more flexible workforce — and, depending on what you use it for, one of the cheapest — management systems. For instance, if you don’t want to use Papaya as your payroll provider, integrating your current provider with Papaya’s platform costs $3 a month. As with Rippling, businesses can build customized plan packages that include only the Papaya tools they need and none of the tools they don’t.


  • Automated payroll runs, tax withdrawals and tax remittance.
  • Automated global payments made in 100+ currencies.
  • Global benefits options, including equity.
  • Employee payslip creation and access.
  • Global payments to third-party entities like the IRS.


  • Access to local legal experts for assistance with visa and immigration permit compliance.
  • GDPR-compliant data security.
  • AI-automated compliance alerts keep businesses ahead of upcoming legal changes in each country.
  • Low starting price ($3 per person per month) if you only want to integrate Papaya with your current payroll platform.


  • No free trial.
  • Additional fee for in-depth reporting and data analysis.
  • High per-employee fees may put Papaya out of many small and midsize businesses’ budgets.


Each of Papaya’s services comes at a monthly or per-employee fee. Naturally, the more Papaya services you opt into, the higher your monthly cost.

  • Full-Service Payroll starts at $12 per employee per month.
  • Payroll Platform License starts at $3 per employee per month. It integrates your existing payroll software with Papaya’s platform.
  • Data and Insights Platform License starts at $150 per month per business location (not per employee). It gives you access to high-level payroll data analysis.
  • Payments-as-a-Service start at $3 per employee per month. This module is required to automate employee and third-party payments across the globe.
  • Employer of Record services start at $775 per employee per month.
  • Contractor Management starts at $25 per contractor per month.
  • Global Expertise Services starts at $250 per employee per month.

Justworks: Best PEO

The Justworks logo.
Image: Justworks

Justworks is a PEO, or professional employer organization. Unlike a payroll or HR software company such as Gusto, Justworks doesn’t provide you with the software to run payroll in house. Instead, Justworks shares ownership of your company, leaving the business management side up to you while taking workforce management off your plate.

As a PEO, Justworks assumes responsibility for remitting payroll taxes, managing employee benefits and automatically paying your employees through direct deposit. Justworks can pay and manage both hourly and salaried workers. However, its overtime alerts for both employers and employees, app-based time and attendance tracking, scheduling features, and location-tracking features make it even more valuable for businesses with hourly workers who clock in and out at specific locations.


  • Automated full-service payroll and benefits administration.
  • Automated hiring and onboarding for remote employees.
  • Health and wellness, life and disability insurance, and 401(k) benefit options.
  • PTO management, time-off approval, employee handbook setup and company directory setup.


  • Live 24/7 customer support for both employers and employees.
  • Customer service available over phone, chat, Slack, text message or email.
  • Transparent online pricing, which is not typical for PEOs.


  • No international payroll processing, payments, benefits or HR features.
  • Health insurance is available with the most expensive plan only.


Justworks has two plans: Basic and Plus. While both plans include workers’ compensation insurance and 401(k) plans for employees, only the Plus plan includes health insurance benefits.

  • Basic starts at $59 per employee per month and includes HR, payroll, limited employee benefits and compliance tools. The rate changes to $49 per employee per month for your 50th employee and beyond.
  • Plus starts at $99 per employee per month and includes all of Basic’s features plus access to medical, vision and dental insurance. The rate changes to $89 per employee per month for your 50th employee and beyond.

Paychex: Best for midsize businesses

The Paychex logo.
Image: Paychex

Paychex has a range of payroll and HR solutions, including comprehensive PEO services and three tiers of full-service payroll software plans. Paychex Flex is Paychex’s primary software product and, much like Gusto, it combines automatic payroll processing services with the most common HR tools for small and midsize businesses.

Paychex’s main feature is its fully automated payroll service. Like any other full-service payroll system, Paychex calculates employee paychecks, withdraws taxes and other withholding amounts, pays employees, and remits taxes and other deductions to the correct entities. Payroll runs can be set to autopilot and scheduled in advance. The company also offers more HR features than competitors like Gusto, including access to a comprehensive HR library with every plan.


  • Automated full-service payroll processing.
  • Direct deposit, paper check and prepaid debit card employee payment options.
  • Global payroll and HR management through Paychex’s third-party partner, FMP Global.
  • Hiring and onboarding with every plan.
  • Access to 160 standardized payroll, financial and employee reports.
  • Built-in HR tools for hiring and onboarding, labor posters, employee self-service, and HR library access.


  • Multiple payroll and HR solutions to accommodate multiple business types.
  • Excellent built-in reporting features offer in-depth financial, payroll and employee insights.
  • High-quality mobile payroll app for both employers and employees.
  • Useful hiring features with more expensive plans, including applicant tracking, pre-employment screening and employee handbook setup.


  • Extra fees for services many competitors include for free (e.g., W-2 and 1099 form creation, general ledger integration, and time and attendance).
  • Limited transparent pricing information on Paychex’s site.
  • General ledger integration is not available with the cheapest plan.


Paychex only lists one price point on its site: its cheapest plan, Paychex Flex Essentials, starts at $39 per month plus $5 per employee. All other Paychex Flex plans and Paychex’s PEO service require a custom quote. Even if you choose the Essentials plan, you’ll need to directly contact a Paychex representative to get price information for add-on features like time and attendance tracking.

Paychex’s pricing stands out in one crucial way: unlike most Zenefits alternatives on our list, it offers a free trial. A typical free trial through Paychex runs either one or three months, but Paychex has offered free trials for up to six months during some sales.

BambooHR: Best for streamlined HR

The BambooHR logo.
Image: BambooHR

BambooHR has many of the same HR and payroll features as Justworks, but it’s an in-house software system like Zenefits rather than an outsourced PEO like Justworks. While the software includes automated full-service payroll, its main focus is on facilitating HR tasks like recruiting candidates, onboarding new hires, gathering employee feedback, managing time and attendance, and offboarding employees once they leave.

Although it was created specifically for small businesses, BambooHR can also accommodate medium-sized businesses. However, BambooHR’s primary focus is HR — not payroll. While you can definitely use the platform to run payroll and track employee hours, BambooHR is a better fit for small and midsize businesses looking for software that focuses on providing a solid employee experience.


  • Employee record management.
  • Built-in automated workflows.
  • Time and attendance tracking, PTO management, and one-click timesheet approval.
  • Employee satisfaction surveys.
  • Performance appraisal software tools.
  • Integration with third-party app, Remote, for global workforce management.


  • Emphasis on employee feedback and job satisfaction helps build a strong workplace culture.
  • Two plans let businesses scale up as they grow with more HR features and support.
  • A unique mobile hiring app lets you make job postings, send offer letters and evaluate candidates.
  • Access to 40 standard reports that can be generated on a pre-set schedule.


  • No transparent prices listed online.
  • Fewer payroll features than most Zenefits competitors.
  • Limited plan and feature customization.


BambooHR doesn’t list prices for either of its two plans online. You can request a quote immediately, or you can sign up for a seven-day free trial with limited features.

  • Essentials is a simple, streamlined plan that includes basic reporting, time management and employee self-service features.
  • Advantage is BambooHR’s comprehensive plan that includes more unique HR features like onboarding, offboarding and employee wellbeing surveys.

Is Zenefits worth it?

Zenefits is worth it for businesses that want all-in-one HR and payroll management on one fully integrated platform. If you’d rather not search for individual payroll, time tracking, benefits administration and HR tools that may or may not integrate with each other, using Zenefits’ streamlined system will save you time and effort.

On the other hand, you should consider a Zenefits competitor if you want global payroll management, payroll-first software or customizable HR plans with more robust financial and tech support features.

Zenefits pros and cons

While choosing between Zenefits and its competitors, you’ll want to do more than just compare features. Make sure you also weigh the pros and cons of each pick, and remember that no HR software pick is 100% flawless.

Zenefits pros

  • User-friendly dashboard and mobile app.
  • The cheapest plan includes HR tools (onboarding, scheduling and reports) that cost extra with competitors like Paychex and Papaya Global.
  • Completely automated payroll processing, from paycheck calculation to tax filing.
  • No additional fee for benefits administration when benefits are chosen through one of Zenefits’ broker partners.

Zenefits cons

  • Five-employee minimum.
  • Potentially expensive plans compared to some competitors.
  • Limited customizations.
  • No employee learning suite.

Zenefits pricing

Zenefits has three base HR plans and several add-on modules, most of which cost a monthly per-employee fee. All three HR base plans include onboarding, time tracking, employee scheduling, reporting, and mobile app access for both employers and employees.

  • Essentials costs $8 per employee per month.
  • Growth costs $16 per employee per month.
  • Zen costs $21 per employee per month.

You can also pick and choose which modules to add on top of your HR base plan.

  • Payroll costs an additional $6 per employee per month.
  • Benefits Admin Using Own Broker costs an additional $5 per employee per month.
  • Advisory Services cost an additional $8 per employee per month.
  • Recruiting plans start at $35 per month.

Do you need an alternative to Zenefits?

Whether or not you should choose Zenefits or a Zenefits alternative depends in large part on your business’s size, HR expectations and specific payroll needs. When deciding between Zenefits and a competitor, start by assessing the above options using our payroll services comparison tool, which can help you pinpoint exactly which payroll and HR features you’re looking for in your software system.

If you want payroll-first software and consider HR tools to be perks rather than necessities, Gusto or Paychex could be less complicated and less expensive for you than Zenefits. If international payroll and benefits management is a must for you, Rippling and Papaya are both better picks than Zenefits. And if your small business values employee feedback and company culture tools more than comprehensive payroll or total workforce management, BambooHR could meet your expectations more than any other provider on our list.


To write our review and evaluate each Zenefits competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, we looked at sites that compile aggregate data based on verified user reviews, such as Trustpilot and Gartner Peer Insights. We also reviewed demos on vendor sites, test-drove the software when possible, and scoured each site to evaluate its features, customer service, user-friendliness, prices and scalability.