January '21 HR To Do List

Tuesday, Janaury 5, 2020

Wow what a year we had in 2020! It brought so many unexpected changes to employees and business owners alike, taught many of us how to cook, encouraged us to support small businesses and order for delivery or pickup, and taught us how to properly wear a mask. Hopefully, it also taught us to be thankful for what we have, spend time with loved ones, and stay healthy and safe. 

There are bound to be surprises in 2021 as well, but let’s start the new year by being prepared for the “usual January suspects.”  There are numerous new employment laws coming into play for 2021, and we are actively reviewing them to help you determine what applies to your company. Keep an eye out for another blog post and a free webinar to help you stay compliant!

As January is a time for new beginnings (and many deadlines!) let’s get started:

  • It goes without saying that any new employment law changes that impact your company should be documented as an update to your Employee Handbook. While you’re at it, be sure your other policies are up to date as well. 
  • Update, review, and audit your HR website.
  • W2 Forms are due to employees by January 31. Be sure to complete any adjustments to W2 wages EARLY in January so your payroll company can still issue your W2 reports on time. Most payroll companies compile and issue these reports, but employers should be sure to review them for accuracy before sending them to employees. Be sure all forms of compensation are included on the W2 – there’s a box for everything! Wages, bonuses, commissions, dividends, retirement plan contributions, profit-sharing distributions, royalties and all other forms of payment should all be included on the W2 form. There’s an incredible amount of information on W2 forms that employees need for filing their taxes properly, so it’s important for employers to get them right.
  • The deadline to file an Annual Summary and Form 1096 is also January 31st if you paid independent contractors in 2020. In addition to the 1096 Form, you’ll also need to be sure your contractors receive their 1099 by January 31. (The 1096 goes to the IRS, the 1099 goes to the contractor.) Think of a 1099 like a W2 for contractors. Only those who you paid more than $600 during 2020 should receive a 1099. If you need guidance to determine if someone is an employee or a contractor, contact us and we’ll walk you through it. Especially in California, this can be a sticky process. 
  • Post new compliance posters (federal, state, and local).
  • Does your company implement annual pay increases in January? Be sure payroll and your HRIS systems are updated accordingly. Create a document signed by HR and the employee that memorializes the pay rate change and the reason for it, and file it in their employee file. Merit increase? Cost of living increase? Three years from now when you need to determine an employee’s pay history this document will be extremely valuable. 
  • Roll over and/or purge documents that are no longer needed/required to be maintained.
  • If you have 50 or more employees, all full-time employees must receive a Form 1095-C reporting their offer of health insurance for 2020. The deadline for distribution to employees has been extended to March 31, 2021, but the employer deadline to file with the IRS remains February 28th for paper filings and March 31 for electronic filings.  
  • Distribute company observed holidays for 2021. Be sure to remind employees of your Paid Holiday policy – what happens if people work on the holiday? Are there different hourly rates for working on a holiday? Do employees need permission to work on a Paid Holiday? (Alternatively, if they are required to work on a holiday, do they understand the policy of how they will be paid for that day?)
  • Are any of your employees starting (or continuing) to work out-of-state? You must register as an employer and pay the appropriate employer payroll taxes for each state where you have an employee working. Employees also need to be paying the correct employee taxes on their paychecks. Be sure you know the laws around payroll in your new state; states have varying minimum wages, overtime laws, or meal & break laws, and also have different requirements regarding worker’s compensation. Some states require you to use a monopolistic (state-run) worker’s comp company (Wyoming, Washington, North Dakota, West Virginia and Ohio) and others don’t require coverage at all! (We recommend always having a worker’s compensation policy in place, whether or not you are legally required to do so!) 
  • Work with a broker to determine if liability insurance coverage needs to be adjusted, especially for those working form remotely. Check with your workers compensation carrier if any updates are needed. 

Wishing you and yours a fantastic 2021. We all deserve a good year this time around!