December '18 To Do List

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Time flies when you’re having fun! We’re amazed that 2018 is drawing to a close already…here in the Bay Area we finally have some rain and it actually feels like fall! We encourage everyone to get outside and find that elusive balance – especially in December when schedules are packed both at work and at home. We’re here to help you get the month off to a good start at work: from payroll to administrative items, employee relations to benefits, there’s something for every HR practitioner in December!

  • Update employee contact information. This is a great time to ask for updates from everyone who forgot to tell you abou their move back in June! You’ll need to send out W2’s in January, and you want them to get directly to employees without getting lost in the mail.
  • Send information to employees about adjusting their 401(k) contributions for 2019. Many employees will max out earlier in the year and forget to start contributing again in the new year; others will contribute the same amount each pay period in order to maximize their contribution by year-end. Still others will want to contribute for the first time this year! Make sure everyone knows how to begin contributing in January, and if you need to input their changes manually, make sure you set the deadline for changes so you still have time to implement them. The maximum contribution for 2019 401(k) plans is $19,000, with an additional “catch up” amount of $6,000 for employees who are over age 50.
  • Does your company have a Flexible Spending Plan (FSA)? Many plans require employees to re-enroll in their FSA plans for 2019. Again, if you’re implementing changes manually,  make sure your deadline for employees leaves you enough time to implement the changes. Send a reminder to employees that any receipts they want to reimburse for this year’s plan must be dated in 2018! Also remind them of the deadline for submitting those receipts…many plans allow employees to submit receipts for the previous calendar year as late as March. Be sure you know the deadline imposed by your plan and you communicate it to plan participants.
  • Be sure you and your management team are clear on winter work policies and paid holidays, then distribute them to employees. When is a snow day? How will employees be informed if the office needs to close? Conversely, are there no special policies? Is the office closed on December 24 or 25? Does your industry require people to work on either day? If so, do they receive “Holiday Pay” that day? Communicate with employees in advance to avoid surprises.
  • If you haven’t managed your vacation requests for the holidays already, now is the time. Communicate with employees on the process for requests and approvals of time off.
  • Audit that payroll! Hopefully you’ve been maintaining excellent payroll records all year, but if not, now is the time to clean them up. Clean records will make your year-end reporting much simpler and save you time and money. Make sure you’re prepared for any special instructions given by your payroll provider for year-end.
    • Many providers will make a Year-End Webinar available to you or send you other special instructions. Pay attention and be sure you’re prepared!
    • Many payroll providers will automatically generate  W2’s for employees, but they need accurate information to do so. Reprinting them, even if only digitally, will result in extra charges from most payroll providers.
    • Work with Accounting to be sure all contractors have been identified for easy 1099 production.
    • If applicable, begin planning for submission of your ACA-1095 forms.
  • Are you having a Company Holiday Party? Are you ready for it? Are you serving alcohol? Do employees understand what qualifies as acceptable behavior at your Company Holiday Party? Keep an eye out for our blog on Holiday Parties and HR later this week.

I’m sure there’s even more on your list for the end of the year, specific to your company or organization. What other suggestions do you have for HR pros at this time of year? Share those suggestions below!

And finally, one last set of reminders: Take some time off. Enjoy your family. Remember what matters most to you; whether it’s your family, your pets, your hobbies, or something else entirely. Reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one with optimism and high standards!