5 Tasks Missing From HR Pros’ End-of-Year Checklists

By: Macon Albertson

Add these to-dos to your HR checklist and give your organization a clean and compliant head-start into the new year

The year-end is here. The countdown is on to review Human Resources files and give your organization a solid (not to mention, compliant) start to 2020. With recent changes in laws, forms, deductions, and regulations, we want to make sure your HR to-do list is up to date. Are these steps on your list?

1. Invite All Employees to the Annual Records Check

Catching employees in the new-year mindset is prime time for the annual records and elections check-in. Give them simple and clear instructions for reviewing their current records for:

  • Social security number: It’s an especially important reminder for new employees. There’s no time like right now to catch the SSN error. 
  • Change of address (snail mail or email): How are they going to get next year’s reminder to check their records? Ask employees to do a once-over for their contact information—for HR and other institutions (i.e., banks, investments, tax advisors) that will be sending end-of-year tax forms.
  • Life events that change their filing status: Marriage, divorce, babies or other new dependents can change one’s filing status. Ask employees to review their W-4 to ensure the filing status is correct for 2020.
  • 401(k) deductions: Remind your employees they can still add to or maximize their deductions before year-end. And should they elect to put bonuses toward 401(k) or Healthcare Savings Accounts (HSA), let them know howto communicate these changes to HR before bonuses are paid.
  • FSA expenses and/or HSA expenses: Encourage employees to file and save receipts for all FSA and HSA expenses so they’re able to submit all expenses for reimbursement successfully. If applicable, update withholding for HSA, FSA, and 401(K) based upon new limits for 2020.

2. Account for Employees’ Non-Cash Bonuses

Think travel incentives, gifts or gift cards, vacation time, learning opportunities or other non-cash bonuses. If you’ve rewarded employees in any of these ways, you must determine if these bonuses are taxable, and if so, decide how you will include them as income in the employee’s 2019 W-2.

3. Audit and Update Internal Employee Resources

Are your company’s intranet, employee handbook, and other internal employee resources accurate and up to date with the information that could change annually? This could include legal limits and vacation policies. Be sure to communicate your holiday time-off policy prior to end-of-year holidays. 

4. Make Sure Your Signage is Current and Correct

Are the latest labor posters on display in your office? Refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) guide to federal labor poster requirements. It includes Spanish-language versions, too. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces posting required labor information, like OSHA and FMLA. Penalties are stiff and based upon the number of violations. Laws vary by state and might include requirements to post information from age discrimination and minimum-wage rates to safety and health protection and workers’ compensation laws. Note the language requirements for your state(s). Keep in touch with your state’s labor department for details.

5. Review Leave Laws and Worker Classification to Ensure Compliance

Review city and state laws relative to sick time, vacation or family leave to see if there have been (or will be) changes. Check labor laws in all states where you have employees and pay particular attention to the classification of those workers.

What Else is on Your End-of-Year HR Checklist?

Taking these steps will ensure you’re in great shape as you close out the year and start 2020.  But what else is on your to-do list this year? Hunter Hollis is here to help with any additional questions about year-end planning, payroll or employer of record (EOR) issues. For more information, please reach out to me at [email protected].

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