End of Year To-Do List
for HR and Payroll Teams

Who is ready to say goodbye to 2020? I think the answer to that question is one that we can all agree on. But before we take off for the holidays and get ready to put it all behind us, there are some end-of-year tasks that Payroll and HR teams need to take care of to get ready for the new year. Our Payroll experts here at Fourth have put together a convenient checklist so you can knock it out in record time. Let’s take a look.



Employee Contact Data – Make sure you have clean data going into the end of the year. That means updated contact information, social security numbers, and new addresses for anyone that moved so that you can be sure those W-2s are accurate and arrive on time. Also, make sure that you have removed any terminated employees and ensure that they don’t have any outstanding balances for garnishments, vacation, or sick time.

Prepare W-2s- The IRS fines companies with late or incorrect W-2s. Be sure you order the forms and that they are filled out accurately and in a timely manner.

Check tax rates -As a general rule, tax rates are subject to change and do so on the regular. Ensure that you are up-to-date on your tax rates for federal, state, and local taxes. Update the Social Security, SUTA, and state-specific tax wage bases and rates.

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Wage Accuracy –  Have you ensured that wages are in line with the local laws in your area? There were quite a few changes to minimum wage rates over the course of the year and more to come in 2021. It might be a good time to ensure wage compliance and possibly get ahead of the changes by rewarding your employees early.

Paid Leave –  One of the most confounding COVID-related regulations involves paid leave. The  Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) represents the first-ever federal legislation for paid leave. There are a lot of open questions regarding enforcement of the FFCRA, leaving it open to interpretation leaving local officials to implement their own rules. Be sure to update PTO and sick leave balances and address any accruals. Check your local labor laws to see if your obligations have changed with regard to various types of leave.

Compliance Posters – November is a good time to check and see if you have the latest posters displayed in your facility. These are mandated and can result in fines if you do not display them prominently for your team to see.

OSHA – Unless you are exempt, the end of the year requires the OSHA form 300. OSHA provides the forms needed for maintaining your records along with step-by-step instructions.

EEOC – The annual reporting for 2019 and 2020 has been delayed until 2021.  Be sure you are collecting all the required data to complete the reporting next year.

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ACA Reporting – Make sure you understand your ACA obligations. Did you have 50 or more full-time employees on your payroll in the previous year? This dictates your reporting requirements and the forms that you will use. Here’s a quick summary:

  • 50+ FTEs – forms 1095-C and 1094-C
  • Less than 50 and self-insured – forms 1095-B, 1094-B
  • Fewer than 50 employees and fully-insured – your insurer should file on your behalf
  • Fewer than 50 employees and no insurance – no reporting needed

Open Enrollment – This year more than ever, communication is key to ensuring that your team knows the benefits that are available to them and the dates they need to enroll. Schedule a series of Zoom sessions to ensure your remote employees are in the know.

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Other HR Considerations

Update Employee Handbooks – it’s a good practice to evaluate your handbooks each year – especially after a doozie like 2020. Is your training in line with the most recent labor laws? Do you clearly identify essential and non-essential employee types in the case of another pandemic? Have you addressed all the recent regulations?

Recognition – Many of us are feeling disconnected and the holiday season will be different from any we have experienced before. Be sure to find a way to recognize your team for sticking with you through a tough year. Whether it’s a socially-distanced, outdoor celebration, or a virtual one, we all need to take the time to recognize good work.

Diversity and Inclusion – This year many HR teams are naturally addressing policies around diversity and inclusion not just to meet the social imperative but also ensure that recent laws are enforced. For instance, there have been local rulings regarding natural hair discrimination in both Virginia and New York. Clear communication around any new policies should not only be documented in the handbook but also communicated verbally for full transparency.

Thinking of Outsourcing or Switching Payroll Providers for 2021?

There’s no time like the end of the year to clean up processes and take some administrative burden off your plate. At Fourth, we offer a full suite of services and software to help you generate accurate payroll, maintain compliance, and attract and maintain a great team. Learn more about how we can help make 2021 your best year yet.

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