Year End Human Resources Checklist

As you start to close out 2019 and transition into a New Year, there are several Human Resource related areas of the business that we recommend you review.  But before we get to the Checklist part of this Checklist… Some wisdom for 2020 from our HR Department to your HR team.

If you have been tasked with leading or setting the direction for your team’s HR function, remember to use the data you have available to you.

Do something with that data, such as create an HR Dashboard that helps you analyze metrics. Pay attention to the story that the metrics tell.  Employee engagement should be one of the top strategic initiatives of your HR Dashboard and your metrics will help you determine how well the organization is doing OR if things needs to be tweaked and updated.


Successful HR Departments are able to help managers link employee goals to Company-wide strategic initiatives.   Unsure what should be included in the HR Dashboard?  Suggestions are included below:

  • Turnover
  • Time to fill each job order
  • Quality of the hire
  • Number of internal vs. external candidates
  • Cost per hire
  • Attendance/ Tardiness
  • Benefit cost share
  • Diversity of the workforce
  • Average Compa-Ratio of each position (or certain positions if that is more applicable to your Company)
  • Average number of hours it takes the HR Department to manage certain tasks (i.e. many of our clients are analysing how long it takes to process payroll and introducing efficiencies into the payroll process that will save time and money.  Suggestion:  Utilize the technology available through your Company payroll system’s self-service portals vs. relying on paper processes.

Why is this important? According to the Work Institute’s Annual Retention report, the cost of recruiting, training, lost skills \ knowledge, etc. can be as much as $15,000 per worker against a Company’s profitability.  Turnover can be crushing your Company’s profits and growth potential.  With this in mind, these metrics help to reduce those losses to the business.

OK, let’s get some things checked off Your list

The goal of this checklist is to provide a COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE for closing out 2019 and preparing for 2020 from a Human Resources Management standpoint.  Not every item applies to every Company… BUT, “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and you can’t plan for what you aren’t thinking about.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to McCloskey Partners if you have any questions or need assistance on ANY of these items… because that’s what we are here for!

  • Automobile Allowable and Non-Allowable Plans:  Does the Company allow employees to drive Company-owned vehicles for personal reasons?  Does the Company provide reimbursement to employees for their use of their personal automobile?  Regardless of what your answer is, be sure to have a policy in place that communicates if the Company follows the IRS allowable or non-allowable program.  Make sure you understand your insurance liability when personal use is on the Company vehicle.
  • Group Term Life (GTL):  Did the Company provide Group Term Life insurance to any employee in excess of $50,000?  If so, any benefit over $50,000 is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.  Check with your payroll vendor to find out if the Company provides Group Term Life in excess of $50,000 and to ensure the system is set up to automatically tax the employees for the benefits above $50,000.
  • Third Party Sick Pay:  Does the Company offer Supplemental Insurance such as Short-Term or Long-Term Disability Insurance through a third party?   Now is the time to check in with your vendor to see if any employee needs the benefit payments added to their W2. You will want to plan this out BEFORE you process your final payroll of 2019.
  • Staffing Budgets: Have you done your staffing budget for 2020 and does it support what you’d like to accomplish in 2020? Or are you hoping that everything will work out for the best?  Are you going to hire using your in-house staff? If that isn’t going well, have you thought about outsourced recruiting?  Have you considered Temp Labor for 2020 and how this can make for a nimbler work force with seasonal spikes?  Ask us about Budgeting, Recruiting and Temp Labor.


  • Retirement Planning Contribution Limits:  To ensure that employees do not contribute more than the plan and the IRS allows, before you head into 2020, check in with your payroll vendor to confirm that the appropriate maximum contribution limits are set up in the payroll system… don’t assume they did this for you.  This way, you do not need to be concerned about employees contributing more than the Plan or IRS allows.
  • Are you the Fiduciary making decisions on behalf of the Company’s retirement plan?  If so, there are responsibilities… and possible liabilities you are taking on by having the role of Fiduciary. Thank you to our friends at Wealth Advisory Group for providing the below comprehensive list that Fiduciaries should be mindful of.  Have a question about your role as Fiduciary? Contact Wealth Advisory Group at; 610.225.1000 ext.101.

Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are on top of your responsibilities and liabilities:

  1. Are you practicing procedural prudence when making plan management decisions?
  2. Do you clearly understand the DOL’s TIPS on selecting and monitoring your QDIA in order to obtain fiduciary protection?
  3. Are you documenting each plan management decision and its support?
  4. Are you familiar with current trends in fiduciary litigation?
  5. Are you certain that your plan is being administered in accordance with your plan document provisions?
  6. What fiduciary liability mitigation strategies are you following? (Fiduciaries are personally financially responsible for any fiduciary breaches that disadvantage participants.)
  7. Are you kept abreast of regulatory changes?
  8. Are you appropriately determining reasonableness of plan fees, services and investment opportunities?
  9. How do you define “success” for your plan and what metrics do you use to track progress?
  10. Is your current plan design communicating the appropriate messaging to encourage success for your participants and plan fiduciaries?
  11. Is your menu efficiently designed for the benefit of participants and plan fiduciaries?
  12. Are you certain you are providing all required communications and distributions to plan participants (including former participants with account balances)?
  13. Are you handling missing participants appropriately?
  14. Are you appropriately monitoring and documenting your fiduciary activities and those of your service providers?
  • Does the Company offer a fully insured premium share medical plan? If so, when the Company works on the 2020 staffing budget, remember to budget at least a 2% increase to cover the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) that is assumed for all fully insured plans in 2020.
  • Does the Company offer vacation/ sick/ paid time off (PTO) and did the Company remind staff about any end-of-the-year requirements to use their remaining vacation/PTO time before they lose it come December 31st?
  • How will the Company handle year-end taxable benefits such as accounting for gift cards provided to staff throughout the year and as holiday gifts?   (The IRS states that any gift cards provided to employees that are not “de minimis” may be considered earned income and taxed. Ask your Tax Account about this specific benefit and how it is applied.)
  • Are you aware what the deadline is for filing the 2019 Claims for the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Program offered by your Company?  Have you reminded your employees of this deadline?
  • Are you familiar with the Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions and how they affect your business? Are you familiar with how to calculate a full-time employee under ACA?


  • Does the Company administer FMLA on a calendar year or 365 day rolling backwards period? (If you had 50 or more employees within the 2019 calendar year, you need to know the answer to this question.)
  • If the business was large enough in 2019 to be covered by FMLA, has it been tracking the use of FMLA correctly?
  • Is the Company automatically notifying employees of their rights as soon as they are out 3 or more days? Or is the Company waiting for an employee to ask for FMLA paperwork? Is it clearly defined whose job it is to handle FMLA leaves of absences so that nothing “slips through the cracks?”
  • Does the Company have a clearly outlined FMLA policy that communicates to employees their rights under FMLA and ADA?
  • Is your Company tracking intermittent leave correctly?


  • Are the employee personnel files in good order? Do the files contain payroll, workers’ compensation and medical insurance all in one file?
  • Has the Company updated the Employment Application to ensure compliance with all recent DOL changes, i.e. Gender? Prior Wages? Felony Questions? A lot has changed if you haven’t updated this form in a while… even since last year.
  • Had the Company asked staff to update their emergency contact data sheets?
  • Has the Company distributed the Holiday Schedule for the remaining part of 2019 as well as 2020 so your staff knows when the Company will be closed? Will there be any Floating Holidays provided to staff?  Is it clear which holidays are paid vs. which periods of time off staff are required to use available PTO time?
  • Has the Company reviewed job titles and revised job descriptions for employees whose jobs, duties, or roles have changed within this year? Be sure their FLSA exemption statuses are accurate as we approach 1/1/2020 when the FLSA changes go into effect.


  • Are the Federal, State & Local Labor posters in compliance? If you are not sure, use this link to learn more:
  • Are the I-9s and supporting ID in compliance? Are the I-9s filed in the general employee file?  If so, we recommend that you move them to their own folder! Do you use E-verify? Should you?


  • Are the correct local taxes set up for all employees? Did anyone MOVE recently?  Which local tax rate should you be using, lived in or worked in? If you feel confused, give us a call! We can help ensure that the right local taxes are set up for each employee.
  • Are you still paying for your payroll to be delivered from the payroll vendor? Are you paying for pay stubs?  Look for ways to reduce the costs of processing payroll and be more efficient… think about offering employees a self-service portal where they can access their pay stubs and W2s directly without your involvement.
  • Did you switch payroll vendors in 2019? If so, we recommend you run an employee census report to verify that each employee’s social security number is 1) set up in the system and 2) accurate before W2s are generated.
  • Being non-compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act and IRS requirements can be very expensive for an organization. Are you ready for the salary threshold increase that will go into effect 1/1/2020?
  • Could your Overtime practices trigger a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) audit?
  • Has the Company made changes to the Time & Attendance system yet?  Is the Company still requiring both salaried and hourly staff to clock all hours worked?  (If you are not sure why this is a potential issue, give us a call!)
  • Has the Company completed an end-of-year payroll audit to prepare for ACA 1095 and W2 reporting?
  • Is the Company charging employees a processing fee if the employee is receiving a live payroll check?  Are these charges in compliance?
  • Have you made a note to remind yourself to obtain the 2020 W4 Form once it’s released by the IRS? (It’s usually released after the new year  begins). We are hearing from many clients that they planning to ask all employees to complete a new Form W4. Employers are not required to have employees complete a new W4… but it’s a good idea since some employees have not completed a new form in quite some time.
  • Has the Company distributed W9 Forms to all consultants who will receive a 1099 for work performed in 2019?


It’s imperative that each organization understands the training requirements mandated either through federal or state law. Also, many industry specific regulations exist that require employers to provide specific training. Please contact McCloskey Partners to learn what particular training requirements your organization may have.

The following list provides the minimum training each employer should be providing its employees:

  • Harassment (Including Diversity & Inclusion, Unconscious Bias, Sensitivity Awareness)
  • Safety (At a minimum, Fire Safety. OSHA may require additional training depending on the industry)
  • Ethics (Including how to report violations)
  • Sick & Safe Leave Regulations (In Applicable States)
  • Expanded Harassment Training for Employees & Managers (In Applicable States)

Did you know that many states, like Pennsylvania, often have GRANT money available for certain types of training and / or for specific industries?   Ask McCloskey Partners for more information!


  • Is the OSHA 300 log up to date? Is the Company prepared to complete the OSHA 300A and post it? Do you know if you must submit the 300, 300A, and 301 to OSHA electronically now?
  • Has the Company distributed the annual Workers’ Compensation Rights & Responsibilities Notice to all staff?  Did you post the Workers’ Compensation Physician Panel for employees to refer to if injured?
  • OSHA now only allows post-accident drug screening to occur when it’s “reasonable to believe the injury occurred as a result of drug and/or alcohol use.”  Do your current policies reflect this rule, and do you know how to enforce it?
  • OSHA’s goal is to complete many more inspections in 2020.  Are you ready?


  • Have you prepared for the new Overtime rule that goes into effect 1/1/2020?   Are you ready for the updates to the fluctuating work week calculation?
  • Did you incorporate newer policies yet, such as Social Media, Parental Leave, Domestic Partnership Benefits and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)? These are included in your up- to-date Handbook and Policy Manuals, correct?
  • Have you made updates to your Drug and Alcohol policy to account for prescription Marijuana? Have you planned for the legalization of Marijuana?  Is your Company required to follow only state laws on Marijuana or are you a Company that MUST follow Federal guidelines?   Has your Company updated your drug policy to require employees taking prescribed medication to come forward and notify the Company if what they are being prescribed “may influence their behaviour and their safety or the safety of a co-worker?”  So much has changed that you need to make sure your policies are  compliant and protect the Company.
  • Winter is here!  How will you handle Company closings?  Do you have a policy to address severe inclement weather?
  • Do you have staff classified as Independent Contractors?  Have you updated your policies and are your staff classified correctly under the updated IRS guidelines?

Our plug …

For additional information on how to check off items from your business’s end-of-year checklist, contact McCloskey Partners, LLC.

McCloskey Partners, LLC is your full service Human Resources & Recruiting & Training Provider. We can assist you with all your needs, large and small, in this complex and changing world.

It’s always better to ask a 5 minute question, then make a Million Dollar mistake!

Contact us today to discuss anything on this Year End Checklist at:

Phone:  215-716-3035 x 700.

To learn more about our services, stop by our website: or e-mail us at