Today I want to spend a few minutes looking ahead into 2016 and what your obligations will be in the new year. I’m going to break this down by quarters so that it’s easier for you to tie it in with your normal quarter-end preparations in Human Resources. As you kick-off each quarter, you can reference this list to know what to focus on!
This quarter is all about wrapping up the previous year, getting ready for the new year, and making sure that you’re up-to-speed on any new government regulations that are rolling out. So make it a point to run down this checklist. And since this isn’t an all-inclusive list, you should consider creating your own checklist of additional items that you know you need to do internally.
- Make sure that you are following state and federal guidelines for minimum wage and minimum wage for exempt employees at each of your locations. (the minimum for exempts is projected to increase significantly in 2016, so make sure you’re ready for it!)
- Confirm that your internal systems are updated to reflect 2016 limits and reporting requirements.
- Finalize your budgets and staffing plans that you should have started preparing before the new year.
- Post your updated compliance posters.
- Update your employee handbook and make sure it’s fully compliant.
Check out our guide for 2016 changes: http://blog.ebs-consulting.com/stay-legal-update-your-employee-handbook-for-2016
- Update employee literature with up-to-date wage information in necessary.
- Wrap up 2015:
- Distribute W-2’s and 1099’s in January
- Distribute 1095-C forms for ACA reporting in January
- Prepare your OSHA Form 300A with a record of all reportable injuries and illnesses that occurred within the past year.
Now that you have the old year successfully tucked away and you’re in full swing for this year, it’s time to start focusing on internal improvements.
- Do you have any software that is due for an upgrade? Now is a good time to finally tackle that and get it wrapped up.
- Take a look at employee training programs. Do you have those scheduled and have a list of which employees need to attend? This includes OSHA Required Safety training as well as internal training on software and processes that you need to do with your employees.
Harassment training is a key part of this. You can keep your litigation costs drastically by adding it to your training program. http://blog.ebs-consulting.com/4-reasons-to-talk-about-sexual-harassment-at-work
- Are there any hiring gaps that you need to take a look at? Do you have positions that you need to fill?
- Spend some time identifying internal productivity bottlenecks. Make some notes and prioritize the list so you know where the largest areas of improvement are.
- Review your I-9 forms and see if any are expired. Renew or dispose of ones that you don’t need to continue to retain.
- Review your company policies and see if any of those need to be revised. Update literature in print and online as needed.
Going into the second half of the year and third quarter, it’s time to get some of the government reporting done and implement some of the changes you identified last quarter.
- ERISA Annual Report (form 5500) – not all companies have to file this, but if you do, then you have to have it filed each year by the last day of the 7th month following the end of the plan year.
- Summary Annual Report has to be sent to participants 9 months after the close of the Plan Year or 2 months after the due date for Form 5500.
- Federal contractors have to submit the VETS-100 by September 30th. If you are part of the VETS-100 database, you will receive a Notice of Filing Obligation with the information you need.
- If you have more than 100 employees or are a federal contractor with more than 50 employees, then you have to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Report (EEO-1) by September 30th for the current year.
- Spend some time working on minimizing the largest bottleneck that you identified in the second quarter.
- Make any changes to your employee training that you identified in the second quarter.
Now it’s time to get ready to wrap up this year and get ready for the next one.
- Before Oct 15, your Medicare Part D reporting is due and credible coverage disclosure notices must be sent to Medicare-eligible participants if you provide prescription drug coverage.
- Review time off rules and accruals and communicate holiday and inclement weather policies to employees.
- Audit all personnel files and records to ensure that they are all up-to-date.
- Prepare ACA 1095-C Reporting forms and 1094-C Transmittal forms for the current tax year.
- Plan for the next year’s budget and staffing needs.
- Strategize ways to reduce more of the company bottlenecks.
- Develop an upgrade plan for company hardware and software so you’re not surprised by things in the new year.
This list is not all-inclusive, but it should, at least, give you a good baseline for what you need to focus on each quarter for reporting and keeping your company on track. Makes sure to add your own goals and company needs to this list and spend time each quarter reviewing and planning ahead.
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