Wrap it up: Seven steps to a successful year-end

By: Ann Potratz

Publication: Employment Law & Regulatory Alert

Date Posted: 11/29/2018

The end of the year is a busy time for HR professionals. Often juggling open enrollment, seasonal hiring, and tax responsibilities, even the most organized team can begin to feel overwhelmed.

Following seven important tips can help ensure a smooth transition into 2019:

1. Ask employees to verify personal information

Get a jump on the crazy January tax season by asking your workforce to confirm their tax information is still correct. Ensuring the accuracy of data such as names, social security numbers, withholdings, and addresses will help reduce your workload come W2 time.

2. Review payroll information

Using the information provided by your employees, reconcile the data with your payroll forms to make sure they’re accurate. Ensure any raises or promotions are reflected on current pay stubs, and be sure any bonuses are included in total compensation.

3. Begin working on Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting

Applicable large employers and self-insured companies will need to report on benefits offered under the ACA. After compiling the necessary data, you can get a head start on Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, or find out if your benefits provider will do it for you.

4. Make sure shifts are covered

The year-end vacation scramble is real — many employees don’t take as much time off as they should throughout the year, and a use-it-or-lose-it policy will often result in a rush of holiday time off requests. Remind managers to make sure all essential tasks are covered before approving vacation requests.

5. Audit Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) use

If you run your FMLA on a calendar year, now is the perfect time to review employee leave usage. Tally the hours used to figure out where your employees stand, and be on the lookout for FMLA leave abuse, especially around the holidays.

6. Ensure 401(k) notices are prepared

Employers are required to provide plan participants with year-end notices, including safe harbor plans, qualified default investment alternatives, and automatic contribution updates when applicable. Begin preparing these notices, or discuss with your plan provider to see if they will be sending them.

7. Revise any out-of-date policies and procedures

While most of your existing policies and procedures are likely fine, review any that may have been impacted by state or municipal law changes. In 2018, several states implemented rules regarding sexual harassment training, pay history requests, paid leave, and more. Ensure you’re up-to-date before 2019 rolls around.

Key to remember: Head into the holidays with an organized to-do list, and save yourself the year-end scramble.

About the author
Ann Potratz - Human Resources Editor

Ann is an editor on the Human Resources Publishing Team, she specializes in employment law issues such as discrimination, sexual harassment, background checks, terminations, and security.

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