How to Get Your HR Ready for the New Year: A Checklist

Use our checklist to help get through your year-end HR tasks around benefits, payroll, and more and start your New Year off right.

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Santa has his list, which we know he checks at least twice to guarantee he gets the job done. But what about you? How do you ensure that all of your end-of-the year HR tasks are taken care of? We’ve put together an HR checklist to help get you get through your year-end HR tasks and start your New Year off right:

End-of-Year HR Checklist


  • Prepare for ACA compliance responsibilities, including:
    • Calculate number of Full-Time Employees (FTEs)
    • Double-check status of grandfathered plans to see if they can carry over
    • Distribute Health Insurance Marketplace Notices to employees
    • Consider amending employee pre-tax contribution to FSA to meet any increases
    • Prepare for reporting Forms 1094-C and 1095-C to the IRS
    • Prepare to distribute written statements to your employees
  • Examine benefits package, including:
    • Compare your offering to market averages to stay competitive
    • Update benefits package (if needed)
  • Finalize employee open enrollment details
  • Verify employee dependent coverage
  • Distribute new health insurance cards to employees
  • Ensure proper end-of-year PTO carryover in the system or pay employees out for PTO, depending on your policy


  • Review company-wide salaries, including:
  • Schedule & issue holiday bonuses
  • Prepare for the first payroll run of the new year
  • Confirm new year payroll schedule
  • Order W-2s and 1099s
  • Review employee wage, tax, and withholding information (such as W-4s)


  • Ensure employee classification compliance (use these tips)
  • Update employee handbook (use these tips)
  • Audit personnel files for compliance
  • Verify that correct labor laws are properly posted
    • Order updated posters (if needed)
  • Research new state, city, or federal labor laws, e.g. Fair Pay laws
  • Update OSHA logs (use these tips)
  • Distribute annual notices to employees, e.g. ERISA
  • Ensure that anti-harassment training is completed (use these tips)
  • Move terminated personnel files to storage


  • Review hiring processes, including:
    • Analyze recruiting process, onboarding length, etc.
  • Have departments check staffing needs to plan for new hires
  • Create and update succession plans
  • Update job descriptions (use these tips)

General HR

  • Review HR budget for the new year to begin to allocate resources
  • Perform annual performance reviews (use these tips)
  • Plan holiday party (use these tips)
  • Make departmental New Year’s resolutions
  • Review and update company policies
  • Remind employees to update information (addresses, tax documents, etc.)
  • Review vendor contracts and set up renewal details
  • Back up any necessary HR data and personnel files
  • Clean and organize personal workspaces
  • Create and distribute vacation calendar for new year

Want to print this checklist? Download it here.

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