Yearend Checklist for HR, Payroll, and Benefits

A year-end checklist for HR, payroll, and benefits is essential to ensure that all necessary tasks are completed before the start of the new year. This checklist can help streamline the year-end process and ensure compliance with tax and regulatory requirements.

HR Checklist:

    • Review Employee Records: Ensure all employee records, including personal information, job titles, and employment statuses, are accurate and up to date in your records and HRIS system.

    • Review Company Organizational Chart: Ensure the current organizational chart aligns with current structures.

    • Performance Reviews: Complete any remaining performance reviews and set performance reviews and goals for the next year.

    • Compliance Review: Review HR policies and procedures to ensure they comply with any changes in federal, state, and local labor laws or regulations.

    • Employee Benefits Enrollment: Confirm that all eligible employees have been given the opportunity to enroll in or make changes to their benefit plans.

    • Employee Handbook Updates: Update the employee handbook to reflect any policy changes or revisions for the upcoming year.

    • Job Description Review: Ensure all job descriptions are up to date.

    • Compensation Review: Benchmark employee compensation against industry standards to ensure employee pay is fair and competitive.

Payroll Checklist:

    • Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) Preparation: Ensure accurate information on W-2 forms for all employees and verify that W-2 forms are distributed to employees by the IRS deadline.

    • Payroll Tax Reconciliation: Reconcile and report payroll taxes for the year, including federal, state, and local taxes.

    • Review Payroll Records: Verify payroll records, making sure they are complete and accurate.

    • Benefit Deductions: Ensure that all benefit deductions (e.g., healthcare premiums, retirement contributions) have been accurately processed and updated with renewals.

    • Final Paychecks: Process final paychecks for employees who have left the company.
    • Leave Pay: Ensure any payments during employee leaves are entered into payroll and accurately reflected in employee W-2s.

    • Payroll Year-End Reports: Generate year-end payroll reports for tax and accounting purposes.

    • Payroll Vendor Review: If you use a payroll service provider, ensure all year-end tasks are completed in collaboration with them.

Benefits Checklist:

    • Open Enrollment: Complete an open enrollment period for the new benefit year.

    • Benefit Plan Audit: Conduct a thorough audit of benefit plans to ensure accuracy in plan administration and compliance.

    • 401(k) Compliance: Ensure that contributions, including catch-up contributions and true-ups, have been made correctly for retirement plans.

    • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): Verify that employees have used FSA funds before the end of the grace period (if applicable) and a positive FSA election has been made by employees who wish to enroll in the subsequent plan year.

    • Communication to Employees: Communicate any benefit plan changes, including premiums, coverage, and contribution limits, for the new year.

    • Retirement Plan Audit: Complete required audits for retirement plans (if applicable).

    • COBRA Notifications: Send COBRA election notices and reports to former employees who may be eligible for continuation coverage.

    • HIPAA Compliance: Ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations, including the protection of sensitive employee health information.

Remember that this checklist serves as a general guideline and should be adapted to your organization’s specific needs, policies, and regulatory requirements. Collaboration between HR, payroll, and benefits departments is key to successfully completing these year-end tasks. 

 If you need assistance with these tasks, contact our Eli Advisors team for more information.

author avatar
Eric Thieringer President
Eric Thieringer is president of Eli Advisors, an HR, payroll and employee benefits firm focused on serving small to mid-size organizations. Eli's services and support address the frustrating gaps that challenge employers and their employees. By solving these problems, Eli Advisors creates financially sustainable programs and services that help organizations attract, retain, and engage the talent needed to succeed.