Checklist: Year-End HR Activities

The end of the year is usually an extremely busy time for HR professionals. There’s a lot they must do in a relatively short time period to close out the year and prepare for the upcoming one. A smooth and effective year-end process can help ensure HR professionals comply with relevant laws and regulations and that necessary tasks are completed in an orderly manner. This checklist can assist HR professionals like you in developing and maintaining an effective year-end process and outlines key activities to consider completing before the end of the year.

The following checklist is not an all-encompassing year-end list but rather an overview of common HR activities. This checklist is intended to be used as a guide, and the steps in this list should be modified to meet the unique needs of your organization. Due to the complexities and legal requirements of some of these activities, employers are encouraged to seek legal counsel to address specific issues and concerns.

Compliance
1. Research federal, state and local employment and labor laws for all locations where the organization’s employees work.
2. Review and update the employee handbook and employment policies.
3. Audit employee personnel files.
4. Transfer personnel files of terminated employees to storage (ensuring all applicable recordkeeping requirements are met).
5. Update workplace employment and labor law posters and notices.
6. Ensure all required workplace employee trainings are completed.
7. Prepare and distribute annual compliance notices, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program Notice, to employees.
8. Review the organization’s insurance policies, including workers’ compensation policies.
9. Update OSHA logs of work-related injuries and illnesses (Forms 300, 300A and 301).
10. File EEO-1 Component 1 report with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if applicable.

Payroll and Taxes
1. Audit the organization’s payroll balances.
2. Confirm the payroll schedule for the new year.
3. Prepare for the organization’s first payroll run of the new year.
4. Schedule and issue holiday or end-of-year bonuses to eligible employees.
5. Review and calculate any employee carryover balances for unused time off.
6. Add to payroll any unused time off to be paid out to eligible employees.
7. Prepare Withholding for Social Security and Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return forms.
8. Review all employee wage, tax and withholding information.
9. Verify the contact information for each employee.
10. Prepare, verify and distribute Forms W-2 and 1099 for each employee and contractor.
11. Compare the organization’s salary ranges to the market average and make cost-of-living adjustments, if necessary.

Employee Benefits
1. Renew group health insurance policies, if applicable.
2. Review all healthcare plan filing requirements and deadlines.
3. Prepare and distribute Medicare Part D notices to all eligible employees.
4. Audit the number of full-time employees to determine whether the organization is an applicable large employer under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), if applicable.
5. Review and comply with the ACA’s annual reporting requirements, such as preparing Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, distributing employee notices and checking the grandfathered status of plans, if applicable.
6. Examine the organization’s employee benefits packages and compare the benefits to what other organizations offer to remain competitive.
7. Conduct an employee benefits survey.
8. Revise employee benefits packages, if necessary.
9. Finalize open enrollment details, including preparing employee communications and scheduling informational meetings, if applicable.
10. Verify dependent health coverage for employees.
11. Distribute health insurance cards to employees.
12. Determine the rollover amount for the organization’s health flexible spending account and remind employees to spend any balances exceeding the plan’s threshold carryover amount before the end of the year.

General HR Activities
1. Perform annual employee performance reviews.
2. Review and update all organizational policies and procedures, including the organization’s record retention policies.
3. Ask employees to update their personal information, including their contact information.
4. Create and distribute next year’s workplace calendar outlining important dates, such as company-observed holidays and employee training schedules.
5. Review and update job descriptions.
6. Create or update the organization’s business continuity plan.
7. Ensure all employees have completed any required workplace trainings.
8. Establish and review the annual HR organizational budget.
9. Review any HR-related metrics, such as employee turnover rate, and establish organizational goals for the new year.
10. Review all HR processes, such as onboarding and employee engagement, and implement any needed changes to improve processes for the new year.

Year-end activities can seem endless, leaving many HR professionals feeling overwhelmed. Preparing early can help you wrap up this year properly and set your organization up for success next year.

Establishing a formal year-end process can improve operational and administrative efficiency to save your organization time and money and reduce potential legal liabilities.

This checklist is merely a guideline. It is neither meant to be exhaustive nor meant to be construed as legal advice. It does not address all potential compliance issues with federal, state or local standards. Consult your licensed representative at The Complete Manager Makeover Membership or legal counsel to address possible compliance requirements.