6 Essential Ways to Prepare Human Resources For the New Year

The Human Resources department is a vital component of every business. It cannot be caught off-guard by changing regulations or shifting business goals. With the end of the year quickly approaching, there are six essential ways that Human Resources must prepare for the new year.

1. ACA Reporting

Begin compiling information for the year-end reports mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Calculate the total eligible and ineligible employees for each month, and calculate the affordability of your healthcare plans. Reporting requirements vary depending on the size of the business, and the type of medical coverage offered to employees. 

2. Policies and Procedures

Review the company’s HR Policies and Procedures manual and Employee Handbook. Update policies to remove any out-dated information and ensure that they remain in compliance with all state, federal, and local regulations applicable to the business. Now is also the time to revisit and adjust internal procedures to reflect the most efficient practices. Check Labor Law posters and order updated ones if necessary. 

3. Workers Compensation

Begin collecting information for OSHA logs, if applicable. Examine loss reports for the year to identify trends in workplace accidents. Make recommendations to the safety department for future accident prevention. 

4. Year-End Payroll

Calculate and pay any year-end bonuses, and begin reviewing year-end payroll reports for W-2s. If minimum wage is scheduled to increase on January 1, identify any employees whose rates fall below the new minimum, and plan for wage adjustments. Examine job descriptions to ensure employees are properly categorized as exempt vs. non-exempt, and employee vs. contractor. Begin year-end performance reviews and corresponding wage increases, if applicable. 

5. Benefits Plans

Many benefits plans renew around this time. Review your retirement, medical and other insurance plans to guarantee that they remain cost-effective, and are in line with your company values. Hold open enrollment meetings to communicate to employees any changes in benefits plans or premiums.  

6. Strategic Plan

Consult with upper management and executives to establish the upcoming year’s forecasts, goals and departmental budget. Determine next year’s needs in terms of recruiting, down-sizing, and modifying the responsibilities of the HR staff. 

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