Ideally, business owners and HR personnel have already begun the task of preparing their human resource functions for 2016. If you do not fall into that category, or want to make sure you have covered the essentials, it will be beneficial to continue reading. There are many preparations that revolve around HR compliance that must be completed to ensure your business is starting off 2016 with a clean slate.
Review Policies and procedures – With many changes to state and federal employment laws throughout 2015, now is the perfect time to review your policies and procedures. Ensure that all policies and procedures comply with changes to regulations that changed throughout the year. Outdated policies that may no longer reflect the current law can cause more harm than good. Also, ensure that policies are documented in your company handbook, and that each employee has signed an acknowledgment of receipt for the handbook.
Complete an I-9 & W-4 Audit – The beginning (or end of the year) is an ideal time to review your I-9 folder. Confirm that all I-9s are separated from personnel files and kept in one file folder for easy access. Check that you do not have any missing or incomplete I-9s. Have employees review their W4s if they have changed their status during the year, or have made any other changes that would affect payroll withholdings. Employees must complete a new W-4 form is their status changes to ‘exempt’.
Archive Terminated Employee Folders – This is a good time to archive terminated employee folders from 2015, whether you file them in a separate filing cabinet or box them up for storage. Employers are required to maintain the folders for at least a couple of years, but removing them from your current employee folders will help simplify your filing process. Just make sure that they are easily accessible if you need them.
Review Job Descriptions for Personnel Files – Employees’ job duties often change throughout the year, so it is important to audit job descriptions. Review employee classifications and check that each employee has a signed job description in their file. This will add a layer of protection for your company in the event of a complaint or lawsuit.
Update your calendar – Review upcoming HR regulation and reporting deadlines for 2016 and add them to your calendar. Also note and ensure you are prepared for regulatory updates that have gone into effect January 1st.
Update Labor Law Posters – Both Federal and State labor law posters need to be reviewed yearly. If any of the information on them has been updated, your posters must be replaced with the current versions. Employers should take the time to review what is required under both federal and state law, confirming that they have all of the required postings. Failure to post required labor notices could result in fines.
Conduct performance reviews. Employers who haven’t already done so, should communicate with employees as to where they stand and what is expected of them in the coming year. Performance reviews can minimize turnover, improve productivity, and even save employers money by utilizing employees to their fullest potential.
Complete an HR audit – Consider having a 3rd party perform an HR Audit to ensure that all of the above is compliant and to identify areas in need of improvement.